May 27th, 2024

Director Romeo Castellucci drops out of Brussels Ring Cycle halfway through because of money, time

By Ronald Blum, The Associated Press on April 20, 2024.

Romeo Castellucci dropped out of his production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle at Belgium’s La Monnaie theater halfway through because of what the company said Saturday was a lack of money and time.

The four-part “Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung)” is considered opera’s most ambitious work. Castellucci, a noted Italian director, began with “Das Rheingold” that opened in Brussels last Nov. 24 and “Die Walküre” on Jan. 21, directing and designing the sets, costumes and lighting. He had intended to use a full-length film during “Siegfried” and what the Monnaie called a “double opera and theatre project” for “Götterdämmerung (The Twilight of the Gods).”

“After many months of preparation, investigation and study, we have had to come jointly to the conclusion that we could not arrive at a way to realize these concepts within the available timing and budgetary frame,” the Monnaie said Saturday in announcing its 2024-25 season. “We all hope that it will be possible to see the completion of this ambitious project at some stage in the future.”

Pierre Audi, general director of the Aix-en-Provence Festival and artistic director of New York’s Park Avenue Armory, will take over with a new production team for “Siegfried” opening Sept. 11 and “Götterdämmerung” starting Feb. 4. Audi directed the Ring at De Nederlandse Opera in 1999.

Michael Simon will design sets and Petra Reinhardt costumes. Chief conductor Alain Altinoglu will lead a cast that includes Ingela Brimberg as Brünnhilde, Magnus Vigilius as Siegfried and Peter Hoare as The Wanderer.

The company also announced a pair of world premieres for Peter de Caluwe’s last season as general and artistic director, a tenure that started in 2005.

“Fanny and Alexander,” by the New York-based composer Mikael Karlsson and librettist Royce Vavrek, based on Ingmar Bergman’s 1982 film, opens Dec. 1 with Ivo van Hove directing a cast that includes Anne Sofie von Otter and Thomas Hampson.

“Bovary,” based Gustave Flaubert’s 1857 novel “Madame Bovary,” opens next April 12 with music by Harold Noben, a libretto by Michael De Cock and a cast that includes Ana Naqe and Oleg Volkov.

Christina Scheppelmann, currently general director of Seattle Opera, will replace de Caluwe in July 2025.

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