Lyric Opera of Chicago launches its new season with a new production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold, the first opera of the epic four-part Ring cycle, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and directed by David Pountney

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A new Ring begins!
Sir Andrew Davis conducts
Saturday, October 1, at 6pm, to open Lyric’s 62nd season
Six performances through October 22

CHICAGO (10/1/16) – Lyric Opera of Chicago launches its new season with a new production of Wagner’s Das Rheingold, the first opera of the epic four-part Ring cycle, conducted by Sir Andrew Davis and directed by David Pountney.

Das Rheingold opens on Saturday, October 1, with six performances through October 22 at Lyric’s Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago. Tickets start at $34 and are available now at or at 312-827-5600.

This marks the first time Lyric has opened a season with a work by Richard Wagner, notes Anthony Freud, the company’s general director.

The story: The Nibelung dwarf Alberich (Samuel Youn/American debut) steals the gold belonging to the Rhinemaidens (Diana Newman, Annie Rosen, Lindsay Ammann/Lyric debut) after they scorn his amorous advances. Forging a ring from the magical metal, he becomes all-powerful, enslaving his brother Mime (Rodell Rosel) and the rest of the Nibelungs. Eric Owens portrays Wotan, the chief god, who learns of the ring’s power and travels to Nibelheim with Loge (Štefan Margita), the demigod of fire. Wotan tricks and captures Alberich, steals the ring (and the rest of the Rhinegold), and is cursed by Alberich. The earth-goddess Erda (Okka von der Damerau/American operatic debut) warns Wotan of dire consequences. Urged by his wife Fricka (Tanja Ariane Baumgartner/American debut), Wotan pays the giants Fasolt (Wilhelm Schwinghammer/Lyric debut) and Fafner (Tobias Kehrer/Lyric debut) with the ring and the rest of the stolen gold for having built Valhalla, the gods’ new fortress, and also as ransom for Fricka’s sister Freia (Laura Wilde), whom they hold hostage. Without Freia’s golden apples, Wotan, Fricka, Donner (Zachary Nelson/Lyric debut), and Froh (Jesse Donner) have grown weak. Fulfilling Alberich’s curse, Fafner kills Fasolt and keeps the ring. The gods enter Valhalla with no clue what’s to come in the next installments of the four-part Ring cycle (which inspired Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy).

Sir Andrew Davis, Lyric’s music director, conducts the new production directed by David Pountney. The late Johan Engels was the original set designer. Robert Innes Hopkins is set designer, Marie-Jeanne Lecca is costume designer, Fabrice Kebour is lighting designer, and Denni Sayers is choreographer.

Over the course of four seasons Lyric will tell the full story of the Ring, with one new production each season through 2020: Die Walküre in 2017-18, Siegfried in 2018-19, and Götterdämmerung in 2019-20. Following the regular season in the spring of 2020, the full Ring cycle will be presented three times over the course of three weeks – a phenomenal undertaking that attracts audiences from around the world.

To download Lyric’s Das Rheingold program book, click the link below:
Rheingold Program Book 

Performance dates for Das Rheingold are Oct. 1 (6pm, opening night of the season), Oct. 5, 13, and 22 at 7:30pm; and Oct. 9 and 16 at 2pm. For tickets and information call(312) 827-5600 or go to

Running time is approximately two hours and 30 minutes, without intermission. Das Rheingold will be performed in its entirety, without cuts.

The opening-night performance of Das Rheingold can be heard live locally on 98.7WFMT and globally on, beginning at 5:45pm. Listeners will have access to line-by-line translations in real time online at

About Lyric Opera of Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s mission is to express and promote the life-changing, transformational, revelatory power of great opera. Lyric exists to provide a broad, deep, and relevant cultural service to Chicago and the nation, and to advance the development of the art form.

Founded in 1954, Lyric is dedicated to producing and performing consistently thrilling, entertaining, and thought-provoking opera with a balanced repertoire of core classics, lesser-known masterpieces, and new works; to creating an innovative and wide-ranging program of community engagement and educational activities; and to developing exceptional emerging operatic talent.

Under the leadership of general director Anthony Freud, music director Sir Andrew Davis, and creative consultant Renée Fleming, Lyric strives to become The Great North American Opera Company for the 21st century: a globally significant arts organization embodying the core values of excellence, relevance, and fiscal responsibility.

To learn more about Lyric’s new season, go to You can also join the conversation with @LyricOpera on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. #Lyric1617 #LongLivePassion


The Ring cycle is a coproduction by Lyric Opera of Chicago and Teatro Real, Madrid. Lead sponsor: Anonymous Donor. Production sponsors: Mr. & Mrs. Dietrich M. Gross, Gramma Fisher Foundation of Marshalltown, Iowa, and Ada and Whitney Addington.

Lyric’s new production of Das Rheingold is generously made possible by Marlys A. Beider, Liz Stiffel, Helen and Sam Zell, Abbott Fund, and Bulley & Andrews.

The Lyric Opera of Chicago Broadcasts are generously sponsored by the Caerus Foundation, Inc., with matching funding provided by The Matthew and Kay Bucksbaum Family, The John and Jacolyn Bucksbaum Foundation, and The Richard P. and Susan Kiphart Family.

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