WAGNER’S “DIE WALKÜRE” – Flying In At San Francisco Opera

International cast features Nina Stemme, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Mark Delavan, and Christopher Ventris

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

San Francisco Opera presents DIE WALKÜRE, the second installment of Richard Wagner’s epic Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) today, June 13th, 1:00 pm, at the War Memorial Opera House. Celebrated sopranos Nina Stemme and Eva-Maria Westbroek appear as “Brünnhilde” and “Sieglinde” respectively alongside baritone Mark Delavan as “Wotan” and tenor Christopher Ventris as “Siegmund”. Maestro Donald Runnicles conducts the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Francesca Zambello directs her new production, which premiered at Washington National Opera in 2008.

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Nina Stemme (Brünnhilde). Photo, Cory Weaver

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Eva-Maria Westbroek (Sieglinde). Photo, Cory Weaver

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Nina Stemme, whose portrayal of “Senta” in the Company’s 2004 production of The Flying Dutchman garnered rave reviews, makes her role debut as Die Walküre’s “Brünnhilde”. Stemme has previously appeared as “Sieglinde” in Die Walküre in Cologne, Vienna, Helsinki, Naples and Stockholm, and she performed her first “Brünnhilde” in Vienna State Opera’s 2009 production of Siegfried. The soprano will return to San Francisco Opera next summer to sing Brünnhilde in the Company’s presentation of Der Ring des Nibelungen. One of the biggest operatic stars of the Netherlands, Eva-Maria Westbroek makes her San Francisco Opera debut as “Sieglinde”. Westbroek has previously appeared as Sieglinde with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden and at the Salzburg, Bayreuth and Aix-en-Provence Festivals; she will reprise the role next season in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of Die Walküre directed by Robert Lepage.

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Christopher Ventris (Siegmund). Photo, Cory Weaver

British tenor Christopher Ventris, who has starred in San Francisco Opera’s productions of Wagner’s Parsifal and Der Fliegende Holländer, returns to sing “Siegmund”. An acclaimed Wagnerian tenor, Ventris has performed the role of Siegmund at Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin and Cologne Opera, and has previously appeared in the title role of Parsifal in London, Paris, Vienna and Bayreuth and the title role of Lohengrin in Madrid, Bologna, Dallas and Geneva. Former Adler Fellow Mark Delavan appeared as “Wotan” in San Francisco Opera’s 2008 production of Das Rheingold. He returns to the role in Die Walküre. Delavan recently performed Wotan in Das Rheingold and Die Walküre at Deutsche Oper Berlin with Maestro Runnicles. He will return to sing the role in San Francisco Opera’s 2011 presentation of Wagner’s complete Ring cycle.

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Mark Delavan (Wotan). Photo, Cory Weaver

German mezzo-soprano Janina Baechle makes her U.S. operatic debut as “Fricka”. A regular artist at the Vienna State Opera, her Wagnerian roles include “Ortrud” in (Lohengrin), “Brangäne” (Tristan und Isolde), “Fricka” (Das Rheingold) and (Die Walküre), “Erda” (Das Rheingold). Bass Raymond Aceto returns to San Francsco Opera as Sieglinde’s husband “Hunding”. He appeared with the Company as “the Bonze” in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, the King of Egypt in Verdi’s Aida, “Pietro” in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, and “Banquo” in Verdi’s Macbeth.
 

raymond-aceto-hunding Eva-Maria Westbroek (Sieglinde), Raymond Aceto (Hunding) and
Christopher Ventris (Siegmund).
Photo, Cory Weaver

Former San Francisco Opera music director and noted Wagnerian Donald Runnicles returns to San Francisco Opera to lead a world-class cast of soloists and the acclaimed Opera Orchestra. Artistic Adviser and director Francesca Zambello gives this epic tale of a powerful god torn by conflicting loyalties a distinctly American touch in this theatrical and innovative production with sets by Michael Yeargan and costumes by Catherine Zuber. This Die Walküre debuted at Washington National Opera and will return in SF Opera’s 2011 Der Ring des Nibelungen.

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Janina Baechle (Fricka) and Mark Delavan (Wotan)
Photo, Cory Weaver

Performances continue:
Saturday, June 19th, at 7:00
Tuesday, June 22nd, at 7:00
Friday, June 25th, at 7:00
Wednesday, June 30th, at 7:00

Click here to order tickets on-line: DIE WALKÜRE

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.

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