Met Opera, ENO to coproduce Wagner’s Ring by Richard Jones


NEW YORK — The Metropolitan Opera is replacing Robert Lepage’s controversial production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle with a new staging by British director Richard Jones.

Jones’ version of the four-opera “Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung)” will be a co-production with the English National Opera, which announced Wednesday the cycle will start at the London Coliseum this autumn with “The Valkyrie” for the English-language company.

“Rhinegold” will premiere in 2022-23, “Siegfried” in 2024 and “Twilight of the Gods” in 2025.

Met general manager Peter Gelb was not ready to say when the production will come to New York other than “this is really quite far down the road for us.”

“He’s one of the directors I admire most,” Gelb said. “He’s obviously thought about the Ring throughout his entire professional life, having done productions of it in the past. The fact he’s interested in revisiting it gives me great confidence in what he will ultimately do.”

He called Jones the perfect candidate for the Met production “because he will tell the Ring faithfully but I know he will find new psychological insights without inventing ones that don’t exist.”

Jones, 67, has won eight Olivier Awards and previously directed a complete Ring at London’s Royal Opera in the 1990s after staging “Das Rhinegold” and “Die Walküre” for the Scottish Opera.

His production team includes sets by Stewart Laing, lighting by Adam Silverman, movement by Sarah Fahie and video by Akhila Krishnan.

Jones’ Covent Garden Ring drew mixed responses for staging the giants Fafner and Fasolt as Siamese twins, for Wotan’s wife Fricka using a limousine and for Brünnhilde dressing in a cheerleader skirt.

Gelb said this production “will be less flashy and more internal in terms of delving into what drives these characters.”

Gelb said Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who succeeded James Levine as music director for the 2018-19 season, will conduct in New York. The cast will include soprano Lise Davidsen.

Lepage’s Ring debuted from 2012-13 and was given three complete cycles in 2013 and three more in 2019, replacing a traditional Otto Schenk staging from the 1980s. Lepage’s production became known for “The Machine,” a 45-ton, 24-plank set notorious for its malfunctions during early performances.

“I am very proud of it. I think it’s been seen a lot both in the opera house with multiple presentations and also in movie theaters,” Gelb said. “It’s had a major run at the Met, but I think the nature of the Ring is that it is something that should re-explored every 10 or 15 or 20 years, and by the time we do this it will have been more than 15 years since the Lepage was first premiered. And also with the new music director, it’s I think important to be able to offer a new artistic take that he will make his own.”

The Met and ENO have been frequent partners, sharing stagings of John Adams’ “Doctor Atomic,” “The Death of Klinghoffer” and “Nixon in China,” Berg’s “Lulu,” Bizet’s Les Pêcheurs de Perles (The Pearl Fishers), Philip Glass’ “Akhnaten” and “Satyagraha,” George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” Gounod’s “Faust,” Mozart’s “Così fan Tutte,” Nico Muhly’s “Marnie” and “Two Boys,” Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” and Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin.”

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