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“You’re hearing one of the best Wagner orchestras in the world.”
--- The Times, November 2018

 

Opera-in-concert

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 RheingoldDie WalküreSiegfried 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

Die Walkure 
WAGNER Die Walküre – Act I: Finale (Skelton, Melton, HK Philharmonic, Jaap van Zwedenyoutube icon
WAGNER Die Walküre - Act III ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ (HK Philharmonic, Jaap van Zweden)

 

Siegfried 
WAGNER  Siegfried


Podcast

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

 

Live Recording

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

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.

 

Streaming
 

 

Das Rheingold
 

 

Die Walküre
 

 

Siegfried
 

 

Götterdämmerung
 

 

Gallery

Das Rheingold (2015)

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To introduce Wagner’s music and the epic Ring Cycle to the Hong Kong public, the HK Phil invited Wagner expert Ms Sue Elliott to host a symposium.
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Conductor Jaap van Zweden and the numerous vocalists during the applause of the Das Rheingold.
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Conductor Jaap van Zweden and the numerous vocalists during the applause of the Das Rheingold.
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Ring partner Chow Sang Sang specially created the Ring necklace for this project.
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The three Rhinemaidens in Das Rheingold, performed by (from left) mezzo-sopranos Hermine Haselböck and Aurhelia Varak, and soprano Eri Nakamura.

 

Die Walküre (2016)

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Conductor Jaap van Zweden, together with tenor Matthias Goerne (Wotan) and soprano Petra Lang (Brünnhilde), during the applause of Die Walküre.
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The love story of Sieglinde (by Heidi Melton) and Siegmund (by Stuart Skelton) captivated the hearts of the audience.
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The Valkyries sisters met and gave a compelling performance in the third act of Die Walküre.
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Illustrations of our cast members by local illustrators were displayed during the “Activity Day” prior to Die Walküre, alongside a demonstration of Wagner brass instruments at the foyer.
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Illustrations of our cast members by local illustrators were displayed during the “Activity Day” prior to Die Walküre, alongside a demonstration of Wagner brass instruments at the foyer.

 

Siegfried (2017)

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In January 2017 Jaap van Zweden conducted the third chapter of the Ring Cycle, Siegfried.
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Soprano Valentina Farcas sang from the choir stall as Woodbird, telling Siegfried (by Simon O’Neill) the plot of Mime.
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Siegfried and Brunnhilde proclaims their love in the phenomenal duet in the last act of Siegfried.
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Tenor David Cangelosi played Mime in Siegfried.
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The protagonist Siegfried was played by New Zealand tenor Simon O’Neill.
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Ring Discovery Day
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Siegfried Drawing Competition
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Chief Executive Michael MacLeod and the winners of the Siegfried Drawing Competition
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As in previous years, the HK Phil invited Wagner expert Ms Sue Elliott to host a symposium to introduce Wagner’s music and The Ring to the Hong Kong public.

 

Götterdämmerung (2018)

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In January 2018 Jaap van Zweden led the HK Phil, together with a stellar of Wagner vocalists and the Bamberg Symphony Chorus, Hong Kong Philharmonic Chorus and State Choir Latvija in the final chapter of the Ring Cycle, Götterdämmerung.
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Tenor Daniel Brenna as Siegfried (left) and soprano Gun-Brit Barmin as Brünnhilde.
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Bass-baritone Shenyang as Gunther (left) and bass Eric Halfvarson as Hagen.
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A steerhorn player and the chorus
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Chief Executive Michael MacLeod, the docent for the Ringers in the Ring exhibition.
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The Ring exhibition
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Demonstration of a Wagner tuba by a HK Phil horn player Russell Bonifede.
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Wagner expert Sue Elliott was invited to speak on the Götterdämmerung Discovery Day.

 


Critical Acclaim

 

Das Rheingold

 

"…riveting performance”

Das Opernglas

 

“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

 

Die Walküre

 

“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.”
“Van Zweden and his orchestra deserve maximum credit for successfully sowing the seeds of Wagnerian appreciation in Greater China.”

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

 

Siegfried

 

“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

 

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

 

 

Media Coverage

 

DateMediaHeadline
September 2018 issueGramophoneCarving out his future
10 October 2018The TimesMud, masseurs and a massive memory-surviving the Ring
November 2018 issueBBC MusicJaap van Zweden interview
November 2018 issueOpera NowJaap van Zweden King of The Ring (cover story)
9 November 2018The TimesJaap van Zweden-Götterdämmerung Review
13 November 2018Presto ClassicalJaap van Zweden on the Hong Kong Philharmonic's Ring Cycle