Das No Good

Fort Worth Opera makes dramatic cut to spring festival schedule

Fort Worth Opera makes dramatic cut to spring festival schedule

Das Rheingold at Minnesota Opera
Minnesota Opera's production of Das Rheingold. Photo courtesy of Minnesota Opera

After adding a few big names to its staff, Fort Worth Opera is taking away one from its previously announced 2018 festival schedule. Richard Wagner's epic fantasy Das Rheingold won't be presented next spring, with too-high production costs cited as the culprit.

"The decision to remove Das Rheingold from the 2018 festival was difficult, but the board of trustees, maestro Illick, and I have listened to our donors and community partners regarding fiscal accountability and prudence," says general director Tuomas Hiltunen, who assumed the post in July in a release. "While it is unfortunate that we had to cancel this fine production next season, we want our patrons to know that going forward our efforts will be attuned to the community’s needs as we rebuild the company into a vital cultural force that is sustainable here in North Texas."

Das Rheingold is a saga of gods, giants, dwarfs, and water nymphs, featuring a fiery dragon and a mystical gold ring that gives its owner unbridled power, a gift which comes at a price. This state-of-the-art, futuristic production premiered during Minnesota Opera’s 54th season with a 78-piece onstage orchestra, multi-tiered set, three Rheinmaidens "swimming" in the orchestra pit, and visual effects created by award-winning film director, writer, and theatrical multimedia designer David Murakami. It was originally scheduled to play two performances in May 2018.

The two other previously announced operas will remain on the bill: Donizetti’s bel canto classic Don Pasquale and the surrealistic tango opera María de Buenos Aires, along with and the sixth year of Frontiers, the new works showcase. Taking Das Rheingold's place will be a trio of 15-minute chamber operas entitled Brief Encounters, written by Mark Adamo, Jake Heggie, and FW Opera's newly named artistic director, Joe Illick. 

The release further explains that as the company enters its 72nd season, it is committed to preserving its financial integrity and continuing to grow by "operating in a responsible manner out of respect for its devoted patrons and supporters."

Illick confirms the stance, saying that removing Wagner's opera from the schedule will "ensure that we are in a strong financial position."