“You’re hearing one of the best Wagner orchestras in the world.”
--- The Times, November 2018
The monumental Ring of the Nibelung (Ring Cycle) is Richard Wagner’s supreme operatic masterpiece. Written over the span of 30 years, Wagner’s epic saga is made up of four instalments: Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. Under Music Director Jaap van Zweden, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil) embarked on a historic four-year journey, starting in 2015, to complete the entire Ring Cycle, performing one instalment annually in concert, together with a stellar cast of the Wagnerian vocalists and three choruses. Altogether the Orchestra gave eight performances of the Cycle's four parts with a total audience numbering almost 13,000. This venture also attracted over a hundred members of the media, and numerous highly complimentary reviews were generated.
With support from the Contestable Funding Pilot Scheme of the Home Affairs Bureau, the HK Phil has presented a series of free symposia and related activities led by scholars and experts. Associated with the concert performances, these activities aimed to enhance audience's understanding and appreciation of Wagner’s work, and the Ring Cycle in particular.
Revisiting the greatest moments of the Ring Cycle
|WAGNER Die Walküre – Act I: Finale (Skelton, Melton, HK Philharmonic, Jaap van Zweden|
|WAGNER Die Walküre - Act III ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ (HK Philharmonic, Jaap van Zweden)|
Wagner expert Sue Elliott and Professor Liu Ching-chih, together with the HK Phil musicians, led you to have an extradordinary Ring journey via a series of podcasts.
|HK Phil's Siegfried Podcast: Sue Elliott’s introduction|
|Sue Elliott's introduction to Götterdämmerung|
The first-ever opera-in-concert performance of Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle in Hong Kong, this four-year journey was also the first to be recorded and released on CD by an orchestra from Hong Kong. Released on the Naxos label, the four parts have been a huge success with audiences and critics alike. The live recordings of the HK Phil’s Ring Cycle parts one Das Rheingold, two Die Walküre, three Siegfried are now available on CD/Blu-Ray in local record stores. The last recording, Götterdämmerung and while a CD box set of the entire Ring Cycle were released in November 2018.
Wagner Ring Cycle Box Set with a USB stick which contains the English and German libretti for all four operas, concert photos and interview videos.
Das Rheingold (2015)
Die Walküre (2016)
“The HK Phil achieved remarkable success in the planning and performance of Das Rheingold, and started a new chapter in the concert life of Hong Kong”
Prof CC Liu, Hong Kong Economic Journal
"Reaching the pinnacle of perfection… The achievement was due to Jaap van Zweden's determination to make music at the highest level instead of sensational stage effects. He took the HK Phil to the next level. It is not only a blessing to the HK Phil but also to all fans in Hong Kong."
Prof Leo Lee, Ming Pao Daily News
“The most remarkable element of the performances was the high standard of the orchestral playing, astonishing for a band that had never tackled Wagner’s dramas in sound before.”
Hugh Canning, The Sunday Times
“The Hong Kong Phil deserves huge credit for making the effort.”
Philip Eisenbeiss, Interlude
|“Triumph for orchestra and singers alike”|
Alexis Alrich, South China Morning Post
|“… the real stars of the Walküre were conductor Jaap van Zweden and the Hong Kong Philharmonic.”|
Robert Markow, Der Neue Merker
|“A Ring from Hong Kong to Take on the World”|
Hugo Shirley, Gramophone
“Jaap van Zweden has rehearsed his players to an admirable level of prowess ….a cogent, no-nonsense Siegfried that is always alive with interest… Siegfried offers a good, all-round performance. The scene is set for a successful conclusion of the Hong Kong Ring next year.”
Ken Smith, Financial Times
“The HK Phil “is always utterly secure and ever responsive to [Jaap] van Zweden’s fine-grained control. There’s never a shortage of lustre or refinement…”
Andrew Clements, The Guardian
“Götterdämmerung was his [Jaap van Zweden] crowning glory and, by most measures, a phenomenal success.”
Alan Yu, bachtrack
“The Hong Kong Ring is pretty good, easily equal to many other Rings, and much better than some.”
Josh Roland, Classical Iconoclast
“Jaap van Zweden: Lord of the Hong Kong Ring”
Jo Litson, Limelight
|September 2018 issue||Gramophone||Carving out his future|
|10 October 2018||The Times||Mud, masseurs and a massive memory-surviving the Ring|
|November 2018 issue||BBC Music||Jaap van Zweden interview|
|November 2018 issue||Opera Now||Jaap van Zweden King of The Ring (cover story)|
|9 November 2018||The Times||Jaap van Zweden-Götterdämmerung Review|
|13 November 2018||Presto Classical||Jaap van Zweden on the Hong Kong Philharmonic's Ring Cycle|