War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco
June 12, 2018

Like the swirling waters of the Rhine that welcome the audience to 17 hours of Wagner, Francesca Zambello’s RingCycle is a work in flux, and has been for over 35 years now. In her eloquent program note, the director relates her conception of this vast production back to an experience climbing in the Rocky Mountains in 1981. From this seminal encounter with the unspoiled American wilderness, and a typically overactive imagination that conjured visions of gods and goddesses roaming the landscape, sprung the idea for an ‘American’ Ring. Zambello’s production is peculiarly driven by such contemporary concerns as what we should expect of our children, the acquisition of real estate and the price we pay for despoiling the environment. Don’t expect Betsy De Vos, Donald J. Trump and Scott Pruitt to buy a ticket anytime soon, but hell, it would be nice if they paid some of it it a little attention.

Lauren McNeese as Wellgunde, Renée Tatum as Flosshilde and Stacey Tappan as Woglinde. Photo © Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera

Over its various outings to date (from Washington 2005, San Francisco 2011,...