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Marking First Staged Production as Company’s Music Director, Alan Gilbert Conducts Die Walküre at Royal Swedish Opera (Nov 20–Jan 15)

Alan Gilbert (photo: Peter Hundert)

This weekend, Alan Gilbert returns to Stockholm’s Royal Swedish Opera to conduct six performances of Die Walküre marking his first staged production as Music Director of the company (Nov 20–Jan 15). The second installment of Wagner’s epic four-part “Ring” cycle, this will feature a superb international cast in a revival of the production – acclaimed for its probing insight – by Staffan Valdemar Holm, former Managing Director of Germany’s Düsseldorf Playhouse. The lead roles will be sung by Swedish sopranos Ingela Brimberg and Iréne Theorin (sharing the role of Brünnhilde) and Cornelia Beskow (Sieglinde), Swedish mezzo-soprano and Royal Court Singer Katarina Dalayman (Fricka), and American bass-baritone Greer Grimsley (Wotan). Deeply rooted in the Royal Swedish Opera’s long Wagner tradition, the stark, Nordic set design is by Bente Lykke Møller.

Gilbert explains:

“I could not be more excited to be back in the pit of the Royal Swedish Opera. Our cast is excellent – really first class! It is a special joy to be working on this Wagner masterpiece in this very telling staging by Staffan. Wagner has long been a favorite in Stockholm and a specialty of Royal Swedish Opera, and this is a powerful production. I have known this piece a long time but have not conducted it in its entirety. The more I get into it, the more I realize there is not one dead moment in it. There are tricky parts to work through, as there is a great deal of narrative and text to convey, but Wagner’s psychological understanding is so acute and nuanced – assuming the audience understands the text, there really is not one boring moment in the opera. Wow, what a great work!”

During the pandemic, Gilbert led streamed concerts from the Royal Swedish Opera’s ornate foyer, and in September he conducted a performance of Brahms’s German Requiem at Stockholm’s neo-Baroque Gustaf Vasa Church on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. This month’s Wagner performances, however, represent Gilbert’s first return to the RSO pit in two years.

A keen and celebrated Wagnerian, Gilbert previously conducted A Ring Synthesis, his own arrangement of music from the “Ring” Cycle, and in one of the final performances of his New York Philharmonic directorship, he led “a riveting Das Rheingold” that the New York Times hailed as “a remarkable evening of music theater.” In 2012, his interpretation of the composer’s Lohengrin at the Royal Swedish Opera prompted the New York Times to report, “His Lohengrin proved well worth the trip to Stockholm.”

A major player on the opera scene, Gilbert has led productions at such legendary houses as Milan’s La Scala, Zurich Opera, Vienna State Opera, Los Angeles Opera and New York’s Metropolitan Opera, where his performance conducting John Adams’s Doctor Atomic was recorded and released on DVD, winning him his first Grammy Award.

Gilbert recently completed a European tour with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, where he has served as Chief Conductor since 2019.

Click here for high-resolution photos.

Alan Gilbert: Royal Swedish Opera

Nov 20, 27 & 30; Dec 4; Jan 6 & 15
Stockholm, Sweden
WAGNER: Die Walküre

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© 21C Media Group, November 2021


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