News from Nibelheim: Creating the World of the Ring

Voss-FrancescaZambello-21FINAL_cropMany different inspirations went into the designs for WNO’s production of the Ring. Some of the inspirations used by the set, costume, lighting, and projection designers along with myself are right here in Washington and will be fun to share with you. Why not start with the first image? It’s the perfect, pure creation of the world suggested by Wagner in the opening chords of The Rhinegold.

We thought of the perfection of the natural world captured by the great German American painter Bierstadt.

There are four of his works in the National Gallery. Most importantly, there is Mount Corcoran, which was one of the opening inspirations for the natural world of the Rhine. And do not miss Frederic Church’s evocative Niagara (see below). 

These two paintings were food for thought for the opening scene. Keep reading my “News from Nibelheim” blog for more suggestions of paintings, films, and books!

– Francesca Zambello, WNO Artistic Director and Ring director

Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826 - 1900 ), Niagara, 1857, oil on canvas, Corcoran Collection (Museum Purchase, Gallery Fund) 2014.79.10

Frederic Edwin Church (American, 1826 – 1900 ), Niagara, 1857, oil on canvas. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Brady-Handy Photograph Collection.