Irene Theorin Replaces Evelyn Herlitzius In The Ring Cycle In San Francisco Opera

By Francisco Salazar

German soprano Evelyn Herlitzius, scheduled to make her San Francisco Opera debut as Brünnhilde in Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen,” has withdrawn from the upcoming engagement due to health reasons.

In a personal statement from her home in Dresden, Evelyn Herlitzius wrote, “I regret very much that due to unforeseen health reasons, I am forced to withdraw from my Ring commitment to San Francisco Opera. I wish the company all success on this important presentation next month.”

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock said: “It was with sadness that we learned on Monday of Evelyn’s need to withdraw from the Ring cycle in San Francisco. She is an incredible artist whom I have been so honored to get to know over the past few years. We were very excited to have her debut on the War Memorial Opera House stage and hope to bring Evelyn here in the future. We wish her a full and speedy recovery.”

As a result, the Swedish soprano Iréne Theorin will portray Brünnhilde, marking her first complete U.S. Ring cycle.  Shilvock noted in a statement, “To my great pleasure, we heartily welcome Iréne Theorin back to San Francisco Opera and I extend to Iréne my gratitude and admiration for her willingness to join us at this point in the process. Her portrayal as ‘Turandot’ in 2011 gave us a preview of the thrilling, exhilarating and deeply affecting artistry that she will bring to the Ring.”

Theorin has performed the role of Brünnhilde to great acclaim at such houses as the Teatro alla Scala, the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Gran Teatre del Liceu, the Berlin State Opera, the Wagner Festival in Budapest, Oper Leipzig, Oper Köln, Semperoper Dresden, and Tokyo’s New National Theatre. Her interpretation can be seen in the award-winning Decca recording of The Copenhagen Ring, filmed at the Royal Danish Opera in 2006.

Theorin joins a cast which includes Greer Grimsley, Daniel Brenna in his Company debut, Karita Mattila, Brandon Jovanovich, Jamie Barton, and the Company debut of Falk Struckmann. Wagnerian conductor Donald Runnicles leads the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

The three Ring cycles are scheduled for June 12–17, June 19–24 and June 26–July 1, 2018.