Behind the Ring—Wagner Symposium

You are invited for an in-depth look at the making of The Atlanta Opera’s production of Die Walküre and the development of our first Ring Cycle. Meet the designers in a panel presentation; hear about the challenge of Wagnerian singing from Jay Hunter Morris, one of the greatest artists of our time to perform the role of Siegfried; and take a deep dive into the ancient origins that inspired Die Walküre with Jonathan Dean of the Seattle Opera.

Saturday, April 27 (Before the performance)

11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

Free—Tickets required

Free Tickets Now Available


Jay Hunter Morris
Opera & Concert Singer

Jay Hunter Morris famously starred in the title role of Wagner’s Siegfried at the Metropolitan Opera in their production by Robert LePage, which was broadcast live to cinemas worldwide and won a Grammy for Best Opera Recording. Morris came into the national spotlight when he created the role of Anthony in Terrence McNally’s Tony Award-winning Best Play Master Class on Broadway in 1995. Career highlights include performances in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Seattle, Santiago, Santa Fe, Toronto, Los Angeles, Houston, Dallas, Hawaii, Atlanta, Paris, Monte Carlo, Budapest, Tokyo, Nice, Strasbourg, Frankfort, Vienna, Taipei, Beijing, Rome, The Kennedy Center, and Carnegie Hall.

Jon Dean
Seattle Opera Dramaturg

Jonathan Dean is passionate about helping audiences access, understand, and interpret opera. His English captions for over 75 Italian, French, and German operas have been seen at many opera companies around America and the world, including, since 2012, Atlanta Opera. As Dramaturg at Seattle Opera he hosts Seattle Opera Podcast and Seattle Opera radio broadcasts on KING FM 98.1; he has also directed in-house publications including the book 50 Years of Seattle Opera and a recording of Seattle Opera’s 2013 Der Ring des Nibelungen. His pair of hour-long English adaptations for children of Wagner’s Ring operas, Theft of the Gold and Siegfried and the Ring of Fire, introduced children all over Washington to the passion and fascination of opera.

Tomer Zvulun
Carl W. Knobloch, Jr.
General & Artistic Director
The Atlanta Opera

General and Artistic Director of The Atlanta Opera since 2013, Israeli-born Tomer Zvulun is also one of opera’s most exciting stage directors, earning consistent praise for his creative vision, often described as cinematic and fresh with “a compelling dynamism” (Atlanta Journal-Constitution). His work has been presented by prestigious opera houses around the world, including The Metropolitan Opera, the opera companies of Israel, Buenos Aires, Wexford, Glimmerglass, Houston, Washington National Opera, Seattle, Detroit, San Diego, Minnesota, Boston, Cleveland, Dallas, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, and Wolf Trap, as well as leading educational institutes and universities such as The Juilliard School, Indiana University, Boston University, and IVAI in Tel Aviv.

Erhard Rom
Set & Projections Designer

Erhard Rom has designed settings for more than 200 productions around the globe. Most recently, he designed a new production of Don Giovanni for the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm.  He has appeared frequently with the Atlanta Opera including the revival of La Boheme in 2024 and has been a key collaborator in the development of Das Rheingold (2023) and Die Walkure (2024) for the new Tomer Zvulun productions. He has collaborated with many of the world’s leading directors, working for major companies including San Francisco Opera (Marriage of Figaro, Susannah, Lucia di Lammermoor, Nixon in China), Seattle Opera (Semele, Eugene Onegin, La bohéme), Washington National Opera (Don Giovanni, Samson and Delilah and Silent Night),  and the Wexford Festival (Silent Night).


Designing the Ring Cycle
11:00 – 12:30pm

Panel Discussion
Tomer Zvulun Director
Erhard Rom Scenic & Projection Designer
Mattie Ullrich Costume Designer
Robert Wierzel Lighting Designer

12:30 – 2:00pm

Lecture 1: My So-Called Wagnerian Life
2:00 – 3:00pm

Jay Hunter Morris

Considered the Mount Olympus of opera, the Ring demands singers at the top of their craft. Join us for an insightful session with Jay Hunter Morris, renowned as one of the greatest Siegfrieds of our time. He will delve into the challenges of scaling these musical heights, explore why so few brave the endeavor, and share a few captivating tales from his journey.

Lecture 2: Greek Tragedy from Norse Myth
3:00 – 4:00pm

Jonathan Dean
Die Walküre builds on ancient material from both the north and the south: Norse myth recast in the form of Greek tragedy. Let’s explore what Wagner took from the Icelandic Eddas and Volsungasaga, what he took from the plays of Aeschylus and Sophocles, and what he had to invent himself as he forged a new kind of myth for our modern world.