Peter Schneider was born in Vienna and joined the Wiener Sangerknaben at the age of eight, later he studied at the Vienna Music Academy (composition and conducting). First he was répétiteur, director of studies and Kapellmeister in Salzburg and Heidelberg, later first Kapellmeister at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, where he worked on nearly the entire opera repertoire. In 1978 he became GMD in Bremen. He has regularly conducted in Bayreuth since 1981. After having worked in Bremen, he became opera and General Music Director in Mannheim for two years. In 1993/1994 he became Chief Conductor of the Bayerische Staatsoper and the Bayerische Staatsorchester. He worked there for five years and remains Permanent Guest Conductor at the Bayerische Staatsoper. In 1995 he made his debut at the Met. He made his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 1984 with Der Rosenkavalier and is honorary member of the house on the ring. He has conducted (selection) Capriccio, Salome, Don Giovanni, Nozze di Figaro, Fidelio, Zauberflöte, Fliegender Holländer, Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Ring des Nibelungen, Parsifal, Tristan und Isolde, Frau ohne Schatten, Palestrina. Conducting for the Wiener Staatsoper 2012/2013: Salome, Die Walküre, Fidelio, Le nozze di Figaro (Japan guest appearance).
After having completed his studies in history, German studies, musicology and philosophy, German baritone THOMAS JOHANNES MAYER studied vocal arts at the Cologne music academy with Liselotte Hammes and Kurt Moll. After first engagements in Regensburg, Darmstadt and Karlsruhe he changed to the Hamburgische Staatsoper. His international career began in 2007/2008 as Wozzeck at La Scala in Milan. Since then he has guested at opera houses such as the Hamburgische Staatsoper, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, at the Paris Opera, in Valencia, at the New National Theatre Tokyo, at the Opernhaus Zürich, the Aalto Theater in Essen, in Leipzig, Berlin as well as at the Salzburger Festspiele, in Bregenz and in Bayreuth. Amongst his parts are Wotan/Wanderer (Der Ring des Nibelungen), Posa (Don Carlo), Scarpia (Tosca), leading role in Mathis der Maler, vier Bösewichter (Les Contes d’Hoffmann), Mandryka (Arabella), Kaspar (Der Freischütz), Jochanaan (Salome), title role in Rigoletto, Barak (Die Frau ohne Schatten), leading role in Der fliegende Holländer.
NORBERT ERNST studied in Wiener Neustadt under Gerd Fussi and in Vienna under KS Robert Holl. He also recieved important impulses through masterclasses with Kurt Equiluz and Walter Berry. He received his first engagement in 2002 as an ensemble member of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein –Düsseldorf, where he among others, gave a successful debut as David. Guest performances have led the young Austrian tenor to the Wiener Volksoper, Geneva, the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin, the Bayerische Staatsoper, Monte Carlo, the Opéra National Paris, the Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam, and the Liceu in Barcelona. Since 2004, he receives regular invitations to the Bayreuther Festspielen. In 2013, he worked among others in a new production of the Ring des Nibelungen as Loge. He gave his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2008 as David. Since 2010, he is an ensemble member of the Wiener Staatsoper and has sung here, among others, Steuermann, Kudrjáš, Tamino, Elemér, Jack O’Brien, Triquet, Tanzmeister, Narraboth, Aegisth, Alfred, Jaquino, Andres and Loge.
OKKA VON DER DAMERAU studied in Rostock, Stuttgart and Freiburg. Between 2006 and 2010 she was ensemble member of the Staatsoper Hannover. Since 2010/2011 she is member of the ensemble of the Bayerische Staatsoper. There, she sings parts such as Erda, Waltraute and Erste Norn, Ulrica (Un ballo in maschera), Mary (Der fliegende Holländer), Geneviève (Pelléas et Mélisande), Charlotte (Die Soldaten), Suzuki (Madama Butterfly), Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel), Dryade (Ariadne auf Naxos). Performances have led her to La Scala in Milan (Charlotte in Die Soldaten), the Oper Frankfurt (Allwissende Muschel in Die Ägyptische Helena), to the Bayreuther Festspiele (Flosshilde, Erste Norn, Grimgerde), the Deutsche Oper Berlin (Flosshilde). She will make her debut at the Lyric Opera Chicago in late autumn 2016 (Erda, Anna in Les troyens). Her repertoire includes the great mezzo and alto parts of the oratorio and concert literature. In 2006 she was awarded the special prize of the jury at the „Young Wagner Voices“ competition in Venice and received the Festival Prize of the Munich Opera Festival in 2013.
In 2011/2012 the German baritone made his successful role debuts as Kurwenal (Tristan und Isolde) at the Opera de Lyon, as Dr. Kolenaty (Sache Makropulos) at the Salzburger Festspiele and as Alberich (Siegfried und Gotterdämmerung) at the Oper Frankfurt, where he had already sung Amfortas (Parsifal) and Alberich (Das Rheingold) in 2010. Future plans include the debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Alberich in the Ring des Nibelungen in Frankfurt and with the RSB Berlin as well as projects at the Bastille in Paris, at the Liceu in Barcelona and the Gulbenkian in Lisbon, where he recently sang Orest (Elektra) and Creon (Medee). He regularly guests at international opera and concert stages, e.g. at the Staatsoper Berlin, the Semperoper Dresden, La Scala in Milan, the Teatro Regio Turin, the Wiener Volksoper, the Aalto Theater Essen as well as at the Ruhrtriennale. Also he sang in Dallas, Philadelphia and at the San Francisco Opera (Faninal in Rosenkavalier). As Wozzeck he for example guested at the Gran Teatro del Liceu Barcelona, at the Teatro Real in Madrid and at the Staatsoper Hamburg. As Musiklehrer (Ariadne auf Naxos) he made his debut at the Met in 2010 as well as at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2011.
The Salzburg born WOLFGANG ABLINGER-SPERRHACKE is considered one of the most sought after and important character tenors of the Opera world. He studied in the Wiener Musikhochschule. In 1993, he came as an ensemble member to the Landestheater in Linz, and 2 years later to the Theater Basel, and finally at the Gärtnerplatztheater in Munich. In 1997, he celebrated his debut at the Paris National Opera which was at the time the place for young singers to develop their careers. Recently, he celebrated large success as Mime in the youngest production of the Ring. The same applies for the Glyndebourne Festival where he has been a regular guest since his debut there in 1999, and has since sung Hexe (Hänsel und Gretel), Tanzmeister and Podestà (La finta giardiniera). He also sang the role of Mime at the Bayerische and Berliner Staatsoper, at the Semperoper as well as the Milan Scala, Venice, Madrid, Toulouse and Amsterdam. Further important roles in his repertoire include Loge, Hauptmann (Wozzeck), Valzacchi (among others at the New York Met, and Baden Baden), Ritter Blaubart, and Herodes. In 2012, he made his debut at the Salzburg Festival (Die Soldaten). In 2016, he will make his debut at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden.
Deep in the River Rhine, the three Rhine maidens guard the Rhine gold. The dwarf Alberich, ruler of the Nibelungs, watches them and tries – in vain – to capture one of the maidens. When the gold gleams in the morning sun, Alberich learns that it can only be stolen by someone who has renounced love for all time. The owner will then be able to fashion the gold into a ring that will invest its wearer with immense power. Alberich immediately renounces love, steals the gold and fashions the ring. The giants Fafner and Fasolt have built the castle of Valhalla for the gods. Wotan, King of the gods, has promised the goddess Freia to them as a reward for building Valhalla. When the giants demand their prize, the other gods try to defend her, but as the god of treaties, Wotan knows that he must keep his word. All of them await the arrival of Loge, the cunning god of fire, who they hope will come up with a solution to the problem. Loge finally arrives and tells them that Alberich has stolen the gold and in so doing has acquired enormous power. The giants listen attentively and agree to relinquish Freia iif they can have Alberich’s gold as compensation within a day. However, in the mean time they drag Freia off with them as a hostage. The gods immediately begin to grow older, as Freia is the only one who knows hoe to cultivate the golden apples that give them eternal youth. Wotan and Loge set off for Nibelheim to trick Alberich out of the ring. Alberich has the Nibelungs laboring for him, amassing a huge hoard of gold. Alberich plans to accumulate enough gold to make him the most powerful being in the world so that he can depose the Gods. His brother Mime must manufacture the Tarn helmet for him; it allows the wearer to assume any desired form. When Wotan and Loge ask Alberich for proof of the Tarn helmet’s magic powers, Alberich puts on the helmet and turns himself into a toad. Wotan and Loge immediately seize him, blind him and drag him away. To regain his freedom, Alberich must surrender the gold, the Tarn helmet and the ring to Wotan. But as he departs, Alberich curses the ring: besides power, it will bring death and misfortune upon its owner. Wotan reluctantly gives the gold to the giants, but hands over the ring only when the goddess Erda steps in and warns him of the misery that the ring will bring. Freia is set free, but the curse of the ring has already begun to work: in a dispute over the gold, Fafner slays his brother Fasolt. The gods return to the castle, and the Rhine maidens bemoan the loss of the Rhine gold. Only Loge foresees the downfall of the gods, despite the magnificent procession entering Valhalla