22. May 2018
3. Jun 2018
Odense, Denmark
Two new Ring cycles in Odin's town
Odense Symphony Orchestra presents all four dramas within a week – as the great master himself imagined them – two weeks in a row.

There will be two staged performances of Der Ring des Nibelungen, the first starting on Richard Wagner’s birthday  May 22th, the second on May 29.

The international cast will include James Johnson, Jennifer Wilson, Catherine Foster, Torsten Kerl, Simone Schröder and Andreas Hörl.

The conductor will be Alexander Vedernikov and the stage director Annechien Koerselman, who was recently interviewed in the December 2017 edition of Opera Now

Further details at:

You can find an interview with Koerselman by Eva-Marie Rasmussen for Odense Symphony Orchestra:

Everyone should be a Brünnhilde in their own life

It never crossed her mind to turn down the offer. The opportunity to stage a 15 hour long opera, which strives to comprehend the complete history of mankind, was in its’ own way a very natural challenge for the Dutch stage director Annechien Koerselman.

In the middle of an analysis of Wotan’s motives and choices, her cheerful laughter presents itself once again. Not because the divine god Wotan is ridiculous, but because he makes very human mistakes. 

To her, curiosity about mankind is the most important thing in life. When she was 4 years old she asked her mother to teach her how to read, simply because she couldn’t wait any longer. The best thing in the world to her was – and still is – to learn and to study. Later on, the Greek gods became her most time-consuming hobby. Now she benefits from her knowledge, as the mythology of the Ring uses divine characters inspired from both Greek- and Northern mythology. It seems only natural that she, in high school, out of sheer interest, was allowed to leave halfway through her chemistry- and German class, to also be able to take Latin and French, thereby becoming both a linguistic and mathematical student simultaneously. 

She was accepted into both the music conservatory and theater school. But she sought the bigger picture. That’s why she transferred to studying stage directing, and immediately felt at home. She sees directing as a craft, a craft that requires the audience-experience to be the center of attention. 

At just 41 years old, Annechien Koerselman has countless productions behind her, both in untraditional environments working with small chamber ensembles, and with some of the largest European institutions such as Deutsche Oper Berlin. Now the biggest opera of them all awaits. Richard Wagner’s Ring of the Nibelungs in Odense, and Koerselman is looking very much forward to it. 

Nature always wins
What signifies the Ring as an opera and an artwork? 

“The Ring wants to do everything. It wants to contain all aspects of life and it succeeds in doing so. What makes the story special is that it can take place in any period of time and in any location. The themes are universal; striving for power, love, jealousy and human greed – which will lead to the end of mankind. 

I believe in the paradox that, even though we as humans with every resource at hand, attempt to outsmart and defeat each other and our own mortality, in the end, nature will always have the upper hand. With greed we misuse all resources, but nature takes over. It will always win. And from that nothingness, life will rise again. The circle of life, as well as the Ring is complete.” 

17 kilo Ring 
How far along in the process are you? 

“After reaching a general idea of the entire opera, as well as the ongoing theme, I’ve started working on the details; every single scene and its’ meaning for the work in its entirety. Even though the entire opera lasts over a period of 4 separate performances, I see it as one ongoing opera. That’s also why it’s so amazing to get the opportunity to experience it as Wagner imagined: all during a single week. 

I’ve gotten the piano score of the whole opera made in a format with sheet music on one page, and room for notes and comments on the other. It weighs 17 kilos and takes up a whole moving box!”

To feel at home in a strange place
How are you hoping to leave a mark on Odense with The Ring

“It was unbelievable to arrive in Odense for the first time, and in just half an hour, feel completely at home amongst the team and Odense Symphony Orchestra. It is my core belief that you should never keep standing on the edge of life’s challenges, but jump into them head first, and learn to swim along the way. The strength to do this can be found amongst the people you surround yourself with. I love the orchestra’s ambition of performing this magnificent Ring. It’s the mentality of wanting to achieve and do the impossible, which, in my opinion, signifies great personalities and achievements. 

In that same way I feel a mental bond with Brünnhilde in Götterdämmerung, exactly like Wagner did. Everyone should be a Brünnhilde in their own life. This woman refuses to back down from what she knows is right about life and love. Even though everything and everyone appears to be against her, she holds on. In the end, death awaits us all, but the things we create together live on. In that way there is always hope. That’s what I’m looking forward to show the audience.” 

Facts: Annechien Koerselman – Born March 26th 1976 in Hilversum, the Netherlands – Her mother is a singer and her father is a psychiatrist – Graduated as director at Toneelacademie Maastricht – Worked with Deutsche Oper Berlin, Berliner Philharmonica, Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam, Philharmonie Luxembourg amo. – Director of The Ring in May/June of 2018 in Odense.