Der Ring


Richard wagner european orchestra
choir of Dijon’s opera
Maîtrise of dijon

musical direction Daniel Kawka
staging Laurent Joyeux
drama & staging collaboration Stephen Sazio
scenography Damien Caille-Perret
costumes design Claudia Jenatsch
lighting JeanPascal Pracht
staging assistantYves Lenoir
scenography assistant Roberta Chiarito
costumes assistant Lucie Hermand
make-up assistant Marion Bidaud
vocal coches Elsa Lambert, Emmanuel Olivier
choir director Mihály Menelaos Zeke
Maîtrise director Etienne Meyer
piano accompanist Maurizio Prosperi

Sabine Hogrefe, Brünnhilde
Daniel Brenna, Siegfried | Siegmund
Thomas Bauer, Wotan | der wanderer
Nicholas Folwell, alberich | Gunther | l’homme
Anna Wall , Flosshilde | Siegrune | Griemgerde | la vieille femme
Andrew Zimmerman, loge
Florian Simson, mime
Manuela Bress, Fricka | Waltraute | Schwertleite | 2e Norne
Josefine Weber, Sieglinde | Gutrune | 3e Norne
Christian Hübner , fafner | Hunding | Hagen
Katja Starke, erda | 1ère Norne
FranciscoJavier Borda, fasolt
Hanne Roos, Woglinde | Ortlinde | Helmwige | Freia
Cathy van Roy, Wellgunde | Gerhilde | Rossweise
Yu Chen, froh
Zakaria El Bahri, Donner
Hugues De Mareschal, Clément Guigon, Dorian Martinetto, Augustin Mascarelli, Marin Meyer & Augustin Lesourd, forest birds
Rémi Meyer, child
Lucie Hermand, bird

A deep orchestra pit helps to ensure that the orchestral sound remains rich while not swamping the singers. And under the baton of Daniel Kawka, the “Richard Wagner European Orchestra” turned in a performance fit to grace any opera house on the planet. The orchestral textures were sumptuous and there was a constant sense of forward impulse from beginning to end.

But overall, this first half of Joyeux’s Ring has been impressive, most of all musically. The melodies ring in my head, there were singing performances to savour and all the grandeur of Wagner’s orchestration came through with full force. Most of all, the music told the story – even to non German speakers struggling with French surtitles – and in a Ring cycle, that’s the most important thing you can ask for. Siegfried and Götterdämerung to follow this evening. I can’t wait.

David Karlin, 7th October 2013

But the last word in this cycle has to belong to Daniel Kawka and the “Richard Wagner European Orchestra”, who sounded fantastic throughout all four operas, giving both newcomers and veterans the full Wagnerian experience: heavy with brass, lushly textured, constantly propelling and propelled by the narrative. Remarkably, this was a scratch orchestra put together in just four months as a result of the intended orchestra having cancelled – a heroic feat indeed.
Submitted by David Karlin on 16th October 2013



When the music of the Ring appears to drag on, it is not Wagner who stagnates, but the conductor who gets stuck. Nothing to worry about for Daniel Kawka whose interpretation of Tristan and Isolde in 2009 proved that he was a Wagnerian of the calibre of Clemens Kraus of old or the Boulez of today. He is attentive to the constant discourse as the chamber-like intimacy of the number of dialogues between two characters. His Ring relieves the songs in the mournful spirit of the song.

Gilles Macassar, Télérama

This success would not have been possible without a musical interpretation which, among others, contrasts the ordinary and generates enthusiasm. The conductor of the orchestra Daniel Kawka has become a great victor from this. (…) He has gained a lofty and luminous sound, which would have enchanted Nietzsche, he would have wished, after the opaque mists of the Parsifal, to hear “Mediterranean” music. His reign, particularly in the wind section, is a glow on the Italian Riviera, the sun lit views of Bordighera or Portofino, such as Monet painted them. “It is not Debussy, but Wagner who invented impressionism in music”, corrected Armin Jordan. Daniel Kawka gives him a reason. (…) He controls and contains the surge of sound, to ensure the transparency of the blends, and the suppleness of the articulations. The basis and intimacy of chamber music. As the spirit of the song is concerned.

Gilles Macassar, Télérama

Daniel Kawka, master of Wagnerian material

Because what happens in the pit… is a pure miracle. An overcome challenge (after the withdrawal of the first partner orchestra) and a sublime thanks to his talent alone as a conductor invited to conduct this Ring musical anthology: Daniel Kawka. Admiring follower of Boulez, the French maestro, founder of the Orchestra or the Ensemble Contemporain, had already heard the same here in Tristan (conducted by Olivier Py), reveals himself as a sensitive genius through his analytic direction and is subtly architectured. He dazzles through his sense of balanced sounds, instrumental balances, a hedonistic and brilliant conception, light and transparent, an organic Wagnerian orchestra throughout; the baton accomplishes a formidable work on the score, knowing how to fuse time, space and passions which submerge the protagonists: the prowess held by the master is such that an aesthetic result is accomplished, however registers the principle of cuts and sequencing of this Ring Wagner/Pauset. From the start to the finish, the sound is grabbing/captivating in the sense of continuity and temporal aspiration. From a superlative articulation, each section restores the symphonic fabric according to the episodes with a vivacious sound (ringing brass, scathing woods, aerial cords..) and an exceptionally profound richness at an emotional level. The ideal stages which were created managed to express the orchestral hyperactivity, this permanent continuum of intentions and connotations, of reiterations, variations or developments between blends which form an intense fabric of the Wagnerian orchestra. If sometimes it all seems washed out (de facto covered by the scene) the relief of the colours, the internal vision which restores the flow of music, its lively density, offers a unique experience. Voilà, it has been a long time since such a Wagner work has seemed unworkable to us: chamber-like, psychological, emotional, the orchestra reveals all which singers usually keep quietly among themselves. How much is put in by the conductor will be dramatic in a full season. Here surely the argument is the most indisputable since the Dijon production of the Ring.


Dear Daniel Kawka,

The way in which you presented the Ring to us will be marked more than a (or should I say more than one…), how much heart, depth, and magic you showed there. (…) And on those strong shoulders rests a spectacle even better than that in Bayreuth. Well, thank you for your vibrant and formidable presence in our heavy and tormented world. I do not doubt that a great energy supports you, because inspiration already carries you!



The Ring des Niebelungen from Richard Wagner reveals a true Wagnerian master, Daniel Kawka
By contrast, the result of ten years of studying the score, the direction of Daniel Kawka is remarkable. Dramatic, taken to the extreme, but also poetic, tender, lyrical at suitable times, the vision of the French conductor is one of clairvoyance and outstanding clarity. The French conductor intimately knows and loves all parts of this score from which he performs a perfect example, and regrets that he had to conduct a truncated version, so much he masters the time and space, and can only wish that an opera house quickly offers him the opportunity to conduct the piece in its entirety. Kawka achieved the challenge to erase the adverse effects on the cuts that he had a type of transition, and the poetic moments irradiated light and sensuality, like a springtime hymn in Act 1 of the Valkyries and the farewells to Wotan in the third act of this same first journey of the Ring of Nibelung, whilst the purely dramatic moments are conducted with energy.

Bruno Serrou


Daniel Kawka experiences the structural and poetic evidence of this music in an impressionable manner without any equivalence. The Solti, Karajan and other Furtwängler are swept away by this comforting finesse and this ideal rehabilitation.

Michel Huvet, autor of 'Wagner sans masques'


The orchestra, rendered invisible in the immense pit, like in Bayreuth, is properly galvanized by the attentive and engaged direction of Daniel Kawka. His consistency, but also the richness of his palette, chamber-like, flamboyant or sourced, have real seductions. The wood and brass sections are particularly admirable, the lyricism of the cords are not missing seduction.



Daniel Kawka and the Richard Wagner European Orchestra have given us a taste of the marvelous sounds of the composer: the successively bright sounds, but without the sound from the brass, the nostalgia from the cor anglais, the roundness of the cords, all of that brings to light the magnificent orchestration of that which wishes the orchestra to be the principle people of the opera; so, the dramatic scenes, the sensuality of love scenes, the juvenile freshness of certain scenes are magnified and explained by the difference of their timbres, all appearing so clear in this tortuous action, only an intelligent work allows this perception…

He has already become a splendid Tristan has Daniel Kawka. It has now been confirmed: his direction, sure and inspired, galvanises the orchestra from which he obtains exceptional colours and nuances, of chamber music at its finest. Not so much a condition for the wood section, round and raw, for the brass in the plenitude (the horns) as well as for the shimmering and warm strings. The orchestra is in a vast pit, invisible as in Bayreuth, which favours the harmony and consistency of the ensemble without harming the readability of the scores at all.