Why We Like Them:
It's always an enormous undertaking to do a production of Wagner's epic Ring Cycle. Says technical director Robert Schaub: “If we played football, we'd want to play in the Super Bowl. When you do opera, there's the Ring. It's what you aspire to do.” This one, however, is something else. Famously known as the “green” Ring, for its spectacular rendering of the operas' natural settings, this Ring Cycle has been praised for its cohesiveness and visual thrills, including the flying Rhinemaidens. It also represents a spectacular feat of organization, in which director Stephen Wadsworth, the designers, and the technical staff have worked together for nearly five years to bring this project to fruition.
"When you do opera, there's the Ring. It's what you aspire to do."
The Seattle Opera technical team (l-r: Robert F. Reynolds, Michael Moore, Lise Schellman, Charles T. Buck, Robert D. Schaub, & Kitty Kavanaugh. Not pictured: Denise O'Brien.
Photo: Gary Smith
Costume designer Martin Pakledinaz
Photo: Gary Smith
What Their Peers Say About Them:
Speight Jenkins, general director of Seattle Opera: “Stephen Wadsworth has been kind enough to say that he would never have agreed to direct a Ring anywhere but in Seattle because of the support the company would give him. I think that the coordination between Tom Lynch and Robert Schaub might serve as a paradigm of such a relationship. From the beginning of our work in the winter of 1995, everyone worked hard on the same track to create the finished product, one that would fulfill the designer's needs and the opera company's artistic desires and financial capacities. The same was true with the work with Peter Kaczorowski and Martin Pakledinaz. In the latter's case, of course, the work was between him and Lise Schellman, the head of the costume shop. From my standpoint, Seattle Opera was more than fortunate to have such marvelously talented and practical artists working together on our most daring, and in the end, most successful product.”
Scenic designer Thomas Lynch
Photo: Chris Bennion/Seattle Opera
Lighting designer Peter Kaczorowski (right) with Speight Jenkins
Photo: Michael Baker
In Their Own Words:
Kaczorowski: “The Ring was the most trying, difficult project I have ever undertaken. The length, the breadth, the time it takes to just work through the cycle in one's mind — much less design it — the stamina required… the dramaturgical problems with the thing, its relentless details, the concentration required of us all.” Schaub: “When you work on the Ring, you have to conceive all four operas at once, or you end up with a hodgepodge. We decided to do the engineering, budgeting, and the developing of all the concepts as one process. The best way to do something like this was to assemble the full resources of the organization.”
What They're Doing Next:
Seattle Opera begins renovating at the end of 2001, a project that will be completed in 2003. Lynch just completed designing Me and Mrs. Jones, a new musical at the Prince Music Theatre in Philadelphia; his busy schedule includes a revival of Edward Albee's All Over for the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ, and Richard Nelson's new play Franny's Way for Playwrights Horizons. Having just opened Kiss Me, Kate in London, Kaczorowski is looking at Tokyo and London productions of the hit musical Contact and is getting ready for the touring edition of The Producers. Pakledinaz's next project is the upcoming Broadway musical Thoroughly Modern Millie, scheduled to open in the spring.