Lohengrin at the Staatstheater Kassel, May 2011:
A musical experience

Meanwhile one might speak of a "Kassel Wagner sound", increasingly refined by general music director Patrik Ringborg and the State Orchestra and making this Lohengrin to an exceptional experience also from the orchestral point of view. Its features are not just an extreme transparency and colourfulness in the sound, an intense music-making in the softer nuances. They also include an unusual sensibility in the accompaniment of the singers. Above and beyond this Ringborg's Lohengrin is characterised by an ever greater incisiveness and punch in the dramatic passages, for example in the prelude to the third act. Deafening cheers for all the musical protagonists.

Musically the performance is on a high level. ... Conductor Patrik Ringborg leads orchestra and chorus with great feeling for transparency and spacing the sound, providing the Wagnerian delight that only a conductor with a music dramatical, clear-sighted, comprehensive overview can achieve.
Luckily the music takes the lead over and over again through the brilliant State Orchestra, fired to a top performance by the enthusiasm of the very focused and passionate general music director Patrik Ringborg. This also applies to the fantastic chorus, ideally prepared by Marco Zeiser Celesti for this enormous task. Brittle pictures of sound lead to musical indulgence, Italian lightness alternates with an expressively loaded blaze of colours. Ringborg elegantly controls the broad melodic flow, chooses brisk and sleek tempi, convinces with rhythmical precision and differentiated tone paintings.
Patrik Ringborg conducts the perfectly co-ordinated Kassel State Orchestra in a paramount interpretative performance: striking magically rising crescendi, sensitive interaction between the groups of instruments, beauteously sounding soli by the woodwinds and a downright triumphant presentation of the trumpets!
The Kassel ensemble impresses though vocal presence in all roles - and the choruses (opera chorus, extra chorus, children's choir CANTAMUS) are absolutely stunning with their outright formidable waves of sound, singing mysticly behind the scenes and acting and singing ravishingly on stage (chorus master: Marco Zeiser Celesti).
This Lohengrin is performed on a high musical level. ... Patrik Ringborg on the conductor's stand showed that he takes no stock in the performance practice witnessed by Mark Twain in Mannheim. No, it isn't Ringborg's style to bang, to roar and to bluster: He always moulds the sound as transparent as possible, without neglecting the dramatic arches of tension. The nobly clarion winds, partly catering for a radiant sound in the auditorium as well, are entitled to a special compliment.
With sensitivity and furore Patrik Ringborg on the conductor's stand of the Kassel State Orchestra takes on the task of holding the evening together - the pit passes the test spectacularly.
Patrik Ringborg in front of the Kassel State Orchestra impressively keeps the evening together, offering silvery graal aura in the prelude, boasting with the choruses while having the regal brass players spread around the auditorium well in hand.
GMD Patrik Ringborg isn't afraid of bombastic sound and the effects from brass players in the auditorium, but also moves and affects with the soft sounds in the second act. The State Orchestra follows his lead eagerly and dedicatedly.
The powerful sounding, but also eminently differentiated choruses (prepared by Marco Zeiser Celesti) were unanimously and rightly celebrated as well as the orchestra, from which Patrik Ringborg demanded fine-tuning, impetus and also, where necessary, explosive fieriness.
Music director Patrik Ringborg yet again proves to be a conductor gentle with the singers and caring for transparency. The Kassel State Orchestra has much chamber music-like noblesse but is also able to kick off dashingly, like in the sensational prelude to the third act.
The musical side is most exquisite as well. … The choirs outdo themselves in this production and the orchestra under Patrik Ringborg presents yet another performance on the highest level. I have almost never heard Lohengrin- conducted in such a thrilling way. … it is clear that is was most appropriate to select him an honorary member of the Kassel Richard Wagner Society.
As always the orchestra under Patrik Ringborg is stupendous, while playing stupendously subtle and differentiated. He conducts a Lohengrin on the same level as the intelligent staging. The superb chorus of the State Theatre (singing and acting exceedingly commendable) and the children's chorus CANTAMUS must not be left out. ...
A question from Bayreuth: Why do you, again and again, have to travel to Kassel to see beautiful, clever and exciting Wagner theatre? Why can't this (exceptions aside) be experienced in Bayreuth?
The Mastersingers of Nuremberg at the Staatstheater Kassel, February 2010:
The easy tone

The fine colloquial tone that music director Patrik Ringborg casually and trenchantly creates for long periods of this Meistersinger is as consistent as the staging. No heaviness, no tough stream prevents the music making that dynamically does everything for the singers and reacts promptly. That Ringborg in skilled in creating an elegiac sound and - when required - producing a lot of noise is apparent in the prelude to the third act and in Sachs' Schusterlied.

When the audience at the end erupts in applause does the enthusiasm also goes to the Staatsorchester Kassel, that under the sublime direction of GMD Patrik Ringborg realises the chamber music like beauty of the score in a delighting way.

It is a magnificent victory for the audacious Patrik Ringborg and his glorious State Orchestra as well. They succeed in creating chamber music-like transparency and pensive melancholy, exciting force and brisk vehemence.

This Meistersinger, having its premiere in Kassel exactly on Wagner's day of death, is simply a hit! And that musically as well as in the staging. Patrik Ringborg holds the Kassel State Orchestra in a firm grip and supplies transparency and cross-references to Wagner's remaining œuvre. When he comes up trumps he's not showing off, but at all times keeping an eye on the stage and supporting his singers.
(Gießener Allgemeine, 16.02.2010)
... Patrik Ringborg and a devotedly playing Staatsorchester as well successfully work against every touch of Germaneness surging forward in a fervidly, almost southern way. And throughout all of the six hours long operatic evening he stresses the light colloquial tone and the chamber music like transparency, not least furthering the immensely important comprehensibility, making the surtitles virtually unneeded.
Patrik Ringborg has fine-tuned the orchestra of the Staatstheater Kassel with remarkable precision throughout the score. He begins the overture pretty mundane, but in the following animates his musicians not just to a confident, but also well-balanced playing.
… the beginning of the through and through noteworthy performance under Patrik Ringborg’s superb direction...
Patrik Ringborg paints the prelude to the third act so sincere and moving...
Light, agile, bright, at times tessellational sounds the orchestra under music director Patrik Ringborg.
Conductor Patrik Ringborg had prescribed a slenderness in sound to his orchestra:... which during the performance's over six hours (with two intermissions) got clearer and clearer, most beautiful maybe in the prelude to the third act, showing perfectly chamber music-like qualities.
... He avoids festal pathos and stresses the lyrical, gentle, introspective tone. Quite light, almost like a dance sounds the chorale at the beginning of the third act. Here and in several further passages he allows the score to gleam with unusually silky lustre. Fascinating. The Kassel State Orchestra follows its music director readily and precise, the united choruses of Kassel join a harmonious entirety.
The orchestra under Patrik Ringborg played exceedingly well, always balanced with the singers and entirely coherent with the staging. In all a terrific evening at the opera, challenging you to come back repeatedly.
Patrik Ringborg presented the Staatsorchester Kassel at its best and created transparency as well as a lush, round sound while never covering the singers and always keeping an eye on the stage. He kept this level through all the performances!
The conductor and the orchestra perform on a very high level, the soloists are always good and at times magnificent.
Parsifal at the Staatstheater Kassel, April 2012:
Patrik Ringborg leads the Kassel State Orchestra and caters for a Wagner sound akin to the Festspiele, for a grand, transparent magic of colours, lovingly caring for the singers.
Patrik Ringborg, for five years the general music director at the State Theatre in Kassel, and the State Orchestra were rightfully celebrated and received with great ovations as they all actually appeared on stage during the final applause. The Swede Patrik Ringborg possesses a profuse Wagner experience and his conducting had a decisive role in creating the vibrant impression left after this performance. A very differentiated music-making with swift tempo changes, many dynamic contrasts, and a sound so transparent that the multifaceted tone colours in the wonderful music splendidly come into effect.
Most stupendous was the orchestra under Patrik Ringborg's direction. He chose relatively fast tempi - the first act lasted barely 100 minutes - thus creating great dramatic tension. All solo passages in the woodwinds, the brass or the strings came off very well and the admirable blended sound between the groups of instruments was perfectly balanced.
No doubt this was the reason why the orchestra and the conductor received the most bravos and applause when entering the stage for the final curtain.
GMD Patrik Ringborg started the prelude with very slow tempi, but with the brilliant orchestra he soon gathered speed in a way that almost made the listener get entangled in the musical events. This was made possible through the instrumental groups: Sure brass players and precisely interacting strings provided a full and superb sound far from technical problems. Ringborg did however not go into rapture and kept the soloists on stage in view every single bar. Throughout the evening he showed the utmost sensitivity seeing to that they not even once came into dynamical difficulties.
Critically-distant staging and grandiose musik-making
It certainly triumphs thanks to Helen Malkowsky's distant thought-through staging, but even more because of the Festspiel-like musical quality. Kassel's music director Patrik Ringborg allowed all the cunningly blended colours of the sound-wizard Wagner to glow from the pit... as the orchestra appeared on stage after a few curtain calls the cheering knew no limits.
Having begun the prelude rather slowly and solemnly-stately, conductor Patrik Ringborg over the evening increasingly chose rather brisk tempi, thus more giving the piece the character of grand opera than the stage-consecrating festival play it actually was conceived as – all in consonance with the stage direction. Together with the Staatsorchester Kassel, he succeeded in interpreting the score in a well balanced and diversified way. The sound carpet created by him and the musicians were characterized through a versatile range of colours, dynamically exquisitely elaborated tableaus as well as through great balance. In general, the conductor’s focus lay more on lyrical transparency and softness in the intonation than on arranged drama. He especially made a feature of the expressionistic colours and (particularly in the third act) moved very close to Debussy. Beyond that, his conducting was characterized by a great care for the singers. ...
The orchestra under Patrik Ringborg’s direction was excellent. He chose relatively spirited tempi – the first act took just under 100 minutes – and thus built great dramatic suspense. All solo passages in woodwinds, brass and strings were played very well and the remarkable mixture between the sound of the groups of instruments was perfectly balanced.
 … a phenomenal orchestra, playing under music director Patrik Ringborg and reminiscent of Debussy's subtle and shaded magical tone, a moving, exceedingly beautifully singing chorus and a most wistful ending...  br /> Surely also on these grounds the orchestra and the conductor got the loudest acclamation and the most bravos, as they came on stage for the final applause.
One can evade the speculations as to the meaning of this staging rather promptly, when surrendering to the vortex created by Wagner's music. General music director Patrik Ringborg allows it to glow and flow, and thanks to the cleverly laid out dramatic composition he succeeds in creating a tension even in the very broad tempi of this music, in leading the listener into this captivating prolongated world of sound, in which it almost seems as if the own pulse slows down in order to make room for an enhanced experience to the same extent.
They all create a musically pleasing evening, to which the State Orchestra makes an important contribution. Patrik Ringborg at all times unleashes a great Wagner spell that blends perfectly with the voices on stage.
The State Orchestra Kassel sounds splendidly under music director Patrik Ringborg's direction. The transparent, singer-friendly, never excessively heavy Wagner tone frequently reminds the listener that Debussy was among the Parsifal admirers.
Kassel's music director Patrik Ringborg holds the musical part of this production in able hands. He prefers a velvety, mellow but not pathetic orchestral sound, out of which single dynamic eruptions are allowed to stand out effectively, but without showing off. His on occasion rather slow tempi are at the same time most dynamic and the great arcs of tension never threaten to fall apart. ... Absolutely amazing musical theatre.
Wagner's megalomania as a mirror for failed remedy can not be presented in a more convincing way. The State Orchestra Kassel under Patrik Ringborg is an outstanding custodian for a music oscillating between Tristan harmonies and the aura of a Nuremberg Rally. Ringborg explores the depths of the narcotic Wagner flow, transforms the artfully created tone colours to almost visual stimuli, thus throwing a bridge between eye and ear.
The contrast between the action on stage and the musical worlds of the State Orchestra under Patrik Ringborg couldn't be more seizing. He unleashes a mystical Parsifal, so well-conceived, as the staging wishes to be. Solemn pathos in broad tempi develops and the Good Friday Spell is unravelled to the smallest detail. Vernal worlds of colour arise in the eye of the listener's mind and the full-bodied harmonious chorus of the State Theatre is equally brilliant. Special praise to the children's chorus, making an all-new sound experience of the Grail scene possible as invisible voices from above.
With Patrik Ringborg Wagner's qualities are well in hand: fine changes of colour between the wind and the string players, a subtly mixed sonority and harmonic movements. The animated way of making music slightly falters only in the fortissimo eruptions. In midst of all expressiveness he and the orchestra lay down the red carpet for the singers.
Parsifal at the Royal Opera Stockholm, October 2013:
Sympathetic and dynamic Parsifal
... In other words, it is a thoroughly sympathetic production. But luckily there are some bugbears. One of them is Ola Eliasson's penetrating portrayal of Amfortas, a negative of the suffering of Jesus, exposed to the violent demands for communion by the knights of the Grail. Another is the passion that Patrik Ringborg exhorts from the Royal Court Orchestra, with menacing dark sounds, blazing passions - accurately formulated. During his many years as an opera conductor in Germany, Ringborg has developed well-calculated timing and impulsive attacks. The final act is carried by his ability to create a serene forward movement, conceiving a humanitarian credo, a fellowship that does not exclude.
A praised director, Christof Loy, was hired and the most internationally sought-after conductor from Sweden, Patrik Ringborg, stands in the pit. ... The Royal Court Orchestra shimmered, caressed and occasionally assaults us right to the finish line under Patrik Ringborg's outstanding direction. ... This time Parsifal was not too long, every minute was needed.
Exstatically with a masterful resolution
At the Royal Opera House the music, already in the prelude, gets an elastically pliable and almost physically painful tone under the sensitive direction of Patrik Ringborg. A tone that leads us straight into the ascetic monastic cell where Christof Loy's production commences. ...
Here the stage closes in around the possible or impossible pair of lovers - in a dense and charged chamber play, masterly performed by both Dalayman and Weinius. Tumultuously and ecstatically and unfathomably sad, yet still deeply human and touching. And the sound of both their voices sends shivers down your spine. Something Ringborg and the Royal Court Orchestra responds to with a nearly expressionistically sharp and translucent orchestral playing.
The conductor Patrik Ringborg achieves great feats together with the orchestra. He creates a transparency in the orchestra with sounds that are lain right side by side and overlap. There is both sensuality and wealth of sound, everything in unity with the singers on stage. There are no landslides of decibels smothering the vocal parts. The male and female choruses, as well as the children's choir, do not have much to go about but they sound dense and full.
Dignified Wagner
This way of playing Wagner, at once analytical and sensitive, is something the music gains a lot from. With no boasting of effects or exaggerated vibrati, the fine shades of nuances have taken the lead, underlined by the precise orchestral playing under the direction of Patrik Ringborg. The Royal Orchestra finds an impressionistic lucidity in the sound world augmenting the levels of dreams in Wagner's music, the dispersing of linear time.
Seductively beautiful
Last Saturday we heard an extended Royal Court Orchestra playing brilliantly under the very convincing conductor, Patrik Ringborg. Methodically and with dignity he reached the finish line with a duration of four hours and 20 minutes, bringing out pauses and more nuances of soft than I ever knew existed. The peaks seemed all the louder, yet without brutal fortissimi. Wooden flutes, violins on both sides and German trumpets contributed to this transparent sound, and when the strings used his specially imported wooden mutes they sounded transcendental, like from another world.
Patrik Ringborg works with a fluidity of an almost psychological degree, where the piani in the orchestra at times amount bordering the limits of audibility. All for the audibility of the singers. It also underlines the psychological realism imbuing the production.
The effect of the hands of conductor Patrik Ringborg was first heard in 2010 at the Nyslotts Opera Festival as he conducted the Royal Opera of Stockholm in their brave production of Electra.
This night Ringborg gave a truly great opera experience in Wagner's Parsifal. Ringborg freed the piece from the slavery of time and let the bows of its music breath. And when its drama needed spaces Ringborg was not afraid of the power of silence but waited for the music to return naturally. The tension in the air was tangible before Ringborg in the first act let Titurel sing "Mein Sohn Amfortas..." Awe-inspiring moment.
The musical side was far more clear-cut. The Swedish conductor Patrik Ringborg brings out quite a wonderful interpretation of Parsifal, contemplatively carried like in the prelude to the first act, which resounds almost with pathos, and very adequate for the staging. Refined and translucent solo parts are heard repeatedly in the good acoustics of the old and awe-inspiring Royal Opera House, and the celli in particular and the strings, in general, prove the remarkable Wagner experience that the orchestra possesses. A solid firmness also in the brass. Ringborg justifiably received spontaneous applause at the start of the third act.
Conductor Patrik Ringborg gave a rather brisk reading of Parsifal further accentuating the human aspects of the drama. Instead of the sometimes leaden nobility that has been so common for especially this of all Wagner's operas, Ringborg's Parsifal was quintessentially human. That is not to say that the nobility wasn't there, but it never overshadowed the humanity, and it made no attempts to portray itself as sacred or holy in any way. The orchestra sounded full and rather dense, although the occasional transparency was achieved. There were also some very good playing from the oboes and the brass section.
The Swedish Royal Opera's new production of Parsifal is very much a success. Christof Loy's attractive and thought-provoking production, world-class singing from a mostly Swedish cast, and superb playing from the orchestra all come together to provide a truly memorable experience and a Parsifal that would be hard to better.
The question Loy wants us to ask is whether such a sexual utopia really exists today. Even if you dispute his logic, dislike his distancing devices or reject his interpretation - one in which a yokel-like Parsifal never really fits - you cannot deny the theatrical quality of his stagecraft, the resourcefulness of the set and costume designs (Dirk Becker) or the skill with which Patrik Ringborg conducts Wagner's long spans, never letting the music sound ponderous.
Patrik Ringborg, whose Wagner conducting I praised just a couple of months ago when I reviewed Das Rheingold at Dalhalla, has gone back to the historical sources and adopted more or less the same tempos that Hermann Levi chose at the premiere and the playing of the Royal Orchestra was very convincing. Wagner’s operas have a long tradition in the house at Gustaf Adolf Square. ... This was the third performance and everything seemed settled. This new Parsifal is a success in every respect.
Intimate chamber drama
With a fine sense for the right balance between expansive suspense and expressive sharpened peeks: Patrik Ringborg on the podium of the Royal Orchestra.
The Rhine Gold at the Theater Freiburg, October 2006:
... that the clan of gods moves into the auditorium having paid off the debt has dimensions of city politics...
This Rhine Gold basically has these in regard to the musical as well. The class which the Philharmonic Orchestra also reveals under its new Chief Conductor Patrik Ringborg sends it critics off to Absurdistan. From the first moment, the archaic low E flat "on the bottom of the Rhine", until the pathos of the D flat major finale, the members of the Philharmonic Orchestra make the score their own, illumining the deepest angles of the counterpoint, for one moment after another making us amazed with brilliant achievements in the solo parts and in the different groups of instruments (horns, violins, brass and, and, and). After this evening, one would wish the partnership with the new Maestro to last longer because its language is Harmony. Ringborg is an experienced, canny Wagner conductor, who astonishes with his Rhinegold especially in matters of tempo. And he knows how to lead a singer. The balance between pit and stage is excellent, and still, the orchestra never gets simply covered, the soloists never have to force.
Even more important since the Theater Freiburg doesn't brag with glamorous guest engagements, but with a fine example of ensemble culture. ... Generous, long enduring applauds. The new music theatre in Freiburg can confidently be built upon these foundation walls.
(Badische Zeitung, 09.10.2006)
That Barbara Mundel's first production turned out so outright convincing, was also the doing of the conductor Patrik Ringborg, who in the nineties was Principal Conductor in Freiburg and now returned to his former workplace. The position of Generalmusikdirektor in Freiburg is ... still vacant, and Ringborg couldn't have handed in a more impressive recommendation than this Rhine Gold. What the musicians showed of sensitivity to sound when accompanying the singers and apart from that brought in of expressive capabilities, was most honourable.
The good news first: The Freiburg Opera Orchestra made one listen attentively under their interim Chief Conductor Patrik Ringborg and offered a lot, from the most tender instrumental "melisma" to almost violent blustering drone. Ringborg, who also collaborated on the new critical Wagner-edition, laid open an extremely multiplex spectrum of effects and affects, from sensuously stretched figures of brass sound to impulsively charged tutti-passages - all of this never at the expense of the dramatical over-all suspense, after which the curtain by the way was closed after less than two and a half hours. Some extraordinary performances by the singers contributed to this fresh, "unused" Wagner sound...
And thus the Artistic Director Barbara Mundel is presenting The Rhine Gold as her first season-opening without adding the words ”to be continued". Does one wish it would be? As far as the musical side is concerned: Definitely. And yet chief conductor Patrik Ringborg so far has only been signed on for one season until a new General Music Director has been found. … Many things speak for the Swedish conductor, who by the way started his career in Freiburg: It is obvious that the chemistry between him, the Artistic Director and the orchestra is good, Ringborg knows the company, has a big repertoire and – knows how to conduct. … And in the Rhine Gold you notice the Wagner experience of the frequent guest conductor at the Gothenburg Opera. Ringborg discloses the details of the score with great foresight, makes you listen twice because of some tempo choices and knows how to compensate any deficit in sound attributable to the reduced size of a Philharmonic Orchestra that in part outgrows itself. In addition to that the balance is excellent...
When did you ever see a complete Wagner orchestra taking a bow on stage after a premiere? In this case, it was justifiable in many ways - first as thanks for the ability to keep the music slim and at all times singer-friendly as well as disclosing it with iridescent colouration in its inner wealth of relationships. Then as a demonstration of the team spirit in the house, lead into battle against the opposition in city politics by Barbara Mundel. And last but not least as recognition for the young, obviously capable Swedish conductor Patrik Ringborg with his long-lasting Freiburg experience, from which he now benefits as interim Chief Conductor. ... 130 conductors have applied for the position - Ringborg is not one of them. But it is obvious that the Philharmonic Orchestra Freiburg likes him. That's something to mull over.
De-mystification is also the keyword for the musical interpretation through Philharmonic Orchestra Freiburg und Patrik Ringborg. He saves on the incense and instead places his bet on a Wagner as un-pathetic and sugar-free as possible, but still compelling. The Valhalla theme e.g. has a really mincing and discreet effect, exhibiting wonderfully refined wind players...
Suddenly it is pitch-dark, even the lamps on the desks in the orchestra pit are turned off. All that can be seen are the green emergency exit signs. ... The noise level sinks, the Spannung rises. It resounds from the depths The double basses in the orchestra pit are joined by the chorus of French horns. Then the celli fan the E Flat Major chord out into the infinite. With the gradual crescendo in the orchestra the darkness little by little.
... the interpretation of the Freiburg Philharmonic from the first bar finds the right balance (reviewed performance: October 20th). Patrik Ringborg, who has returned to the Freiburg Theatre as music director for one season, gives birth to a colour-rich sound with the orchestra, that again an yet again submerges into pianissimo. It is no Wagner with the crowbar, but through and through a smoothly shaded, differentiated music-making.
... start also in the temporarily pitch-dark orchestra pit. On the podium in front of the Freiburg Philharmonic, solid even in sensitive moments, stands Patrik Ringborg, in the nineties the Principal Conductor in the house, later in Essen und until a new Generalmusikdirektor is found interim Chief Conductor. Those who rather would have kept him that very evening were given help with their arguments through the premiere in Freiburg. He presented a Wagner with understatements: "The Rhinegold" as a "Konversationsstück", even though discreet still very present in its disassembling of the orchestral parts with meticulously controlled transitions...
For young artists, Freiburg has always been a good place to start a career. This is also the case with Swedish conductor Patrik Ringborg. After Karen Kamensek prematurely left Freiburg, Ringborg was appointed chief conductor for a year – meanwhile, he is General Music Director in Kassel. He nevertheless has left his traces. Already in the Rhine Gold the piano culture in this orchestra with only 65 musicians filled you with awe.
Tannhäuser at the Staatstheater Kassel, April 2013:
And how did the singers and the orchestra come together?
 Schaeffer: Excellently. The chorus, the Staatsorchester and the soloists were very much celebrated for the vivid implementation of the music. The musical direction by Patrik Ringborg was extremely differentiated with dynamic contrasts and wonderfully iridescent colours in the sound. It was most diaphanous, the orchestra never too loud, but always giving the singers on stage room to expand.
The musical performance was also on a high level … A big career must be imminent for Patrik Ringborg. During this evening he put the audience in a musical-magical trance together with the exceedingly disciplined and versed Staatsorchester Kassel. Already the prelude and the Bacchanal were presented by him with much fire and breathtaking élan. In the following as well, he never let the music miss suspense and intensity. In spite of all the glowing fervour in the sound quality, the transparency and delicate detail work were never neglected. Conductor and musicians dauntlessly conjured great musical arches and a variety of colours, so that their performance appeared tremendously complex and highly differentiated.
GMD Patrik Ringborg does not allow himself to be disconcerted by the stage direction and conducts passionately, voluptuously, allowing great arches to arise while illuminating the details of the score without ever trailing away. Already with the overture he triggers a fascinating musical vortex, one that you readily indulge in.
GMD Patrik Ringborg and the Staatsorchester Kassel guarantee Wagner competence – a transparently sounding inebriation are overture and bacchanal.

Patrik Ringborg conducts the Staatsorchester with differentiated sound that never gets too massive.
Patrik Ringborg opposes the coldness of the staging with blazing orchestral streams and has perfect control over the huge choruses.
 Tristan and Isolde at the Gothenburg Opera, March 2003:
I find it delightful that the Gothenburg Opera has chosen a young Swedish conductor for such a prestigious task, and even more delightful is the fact that Patrik Ringborg makes such a great achievement. It is chamber-musical, it is intelligent, it is sensual, and the playing and singing is very good.
We will see what the Stockholm Opera has to offer when Tristan is performed there next year. The Gothenburg Opera has set the musical level very high indeed.
... But nevertheless, it becomes a very sensual performance, pointing out the intimate intoxication of Wagner's music. The reason is not least the eminent orchestral playing under the baton of Patrik Ringborg. What an extraordinary clarity and transparency Ringborg has in his interpretation! What a melodic warmth and contrast in sound! The key words seem to be "lyrical intensity", which also applies to the way it's sung. ... It is a Wagner, emanating from the German Lieder-tradition, in a way, as if Schubert and Schumann were co-composers. The result is one of a kind.
Patrik Ringborg leads the well-sounding orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera in a controlled and exactly measured way, in order to, when appropriate, transform phrases into whip lashes. It is Wagner for our time (here for the first time in the new critical edition of the score by the Richard-Wagner-Gesamtausgabe), - and it is throughout probable, that Gothenburg's opera orchestra currently might be regarded as the best opera orchestra in the country. Tristan and Isolde in Gothenburg is, not least therefore, a performance going directly to the heart.
... the drama springs from the orchestra ... and becomes intense and clear in its lines, not least thanks to Patrik Ringborg's absolutely steady grip on the score and to the never-failing contrast in orchestral details. ... The never interrupted intensity in the orchestral playing renders a diversity to the layers of this everything but uninteresting interpretation of Tristan.
At the Gothenburg Opera the playing is touching and impressively consistent, and there are many elements to embrace while simultaneously raising questions to discuss.
Patrik Ringborg is the young conductor, leading the orchestra through a very tender interpretation of Wagner's music; is it incredibly delightful, how he dares to be so exact with the pausing and the chamber musical elements.
... instead the orchestra is responsible for the strong lasting impression. The Gothenburg Opera has been rather daring, in letting all cast members make their debuts in this production. Conductor Patrik Ringborg does this with great bravura - such a chamber musical penetration of the score is seldom heard. His musicianship also comprises great dynamics in a forceful orchestral playing.
The precision is great into the smallest detail, especially in the wood winds.
The orchestral prelude is beautifully and thoroughly worked out by the orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera under the conductor Patrik Ringborg.
Already at the start of the prelude - with the famous chord which can be considered as one of the first nails in the casket of tonality - the feverish atmosphere emanating from this whole oeuvre is sounding, and release is not to be found until the last bar of the finale. What goes on between those points can only be described as a miracle, in which word and tone, singers and orchestra are woven into an absolutely superb unity.
A magnificent player during this evening was the orchestra of the Opera, which reached ever loftier heights under the baton of Patrik Ringborg. The conductor offered an interpretation, extremely balanced in sound and tempo, full of tensions, exactly like it has to be in Tristan and Isolde.
Patrik Ringborg elaborates a mature music making. The orchestra has a wonderful sound and the solo passages are well controlled. There are symphonic width and dramatic consequence. In the words "music drama", the word "music" is emphasised. Gothenburg has ventured for volume, endurance and musical credibility.
The enchanting effect of the Tristan music was mediated in an extremely meritorious way by the conductor Patrik Ringborg and the orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera.
... a flow of music and emotions developed into boundlessness and the almost hallucinatory. At the Gothenburg Opera this state becomes extraordinary clear with a reproduction of the score, sharp in details, rich in contrast and filled with sound as well as an almost lyrical layout of the vocal parts...
Little can destroy the four and a half hours of dramatic music. And it is gorgeously performed by the orchestra of the Opera, which in conductor Patrik Ringborg has been given the man, who in the first place saves this production.
Conductor: Patrik Ringborg, very young, lead the audience through the five hours of singing and music. All details are made clearly transparent. The orchestra sounds like one voice.
The orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera under Ringborg carries the whole production with well-known authority.
But it is compensated for by the musical tidal wave, fully pouring out its flow of emotions out of the extraordinary wellspring of sound in the orchestra pit. The conductor Patrik Ringborg leads the orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera with power and sensibility to a triumph of high rank. The orchestra often sounds great, but this experience boards to the supernatural.
The conductor Patrik Ringborg should be praised for a clear and held-back music making, which gives the soloists – without risk to be drowned – space for nuances and soft phrasing.
Die Walküre at the Gothenburg Opera, January 2004:
In the production of Wagner's Die Walküre at the Gothenburg Opera, the music is born anew. And if someone should be pointed out before anyone else, it is conductor Patrik Ringborg. The wealth of nuances that he brings out of the orchestral playing is one of a kind.
Instead focus lies totally on the music, on the in every moment changing feelings which gives unexpected access to the drama. Or rather: to the chamber play, hiding behind all the overwhelming and mythologically complex. A quite different Wagner resounds, definitely closer to Strindberg and Ibsen than you would think at a first glance. Depicting the worries and the cracks in the bourgeois family, telling a story of the complex relationship between the individual and society: To belong or not to belong, build up or destroy?
The seating of the orchestra on stage instead of in the pit is also a fortunate choice. Suddenly the communication between the singers and the single instrumental cues are in focus and the construction of the leitmotifs can be understood in quite a different way.
If someone should be pointed out as the hero of the evening, it is conductor Patrik Ringborg. Exactly like in the production of Tristan and Isolde last season he succeeds in bringing out an extraordinary agility and wealth in nuances and it can already be stated that Ringborg with this astonishing Wagner freshness is well on his way to creating his own conductor's identity. Most impressive is the chamber-musical touch, the lightness and flexibility, like in the solo passages for cello, bass clarinet, bassoon and oboe. So refreshingly far away from the heavy and bombastic Wagner playing. So unconditionally beautiful.
The simplicity and the transparency is what stands out the most in this performance, a transparency absolutely to Wagner's advantage. The music is born anew and lives its own life, far from knight's armours and overly ideological interpretations.
One can experience the orchestra exactly like the chorus of the ancient Greek drama, always ready to comment on the action with flashing Leitmotivs. ... a performance which no Wagner lover should miss. With ... an orchestra in top form, it is a pleasure listening to it. Patrik Ringborg shows again that he has a safe grip on the musical language of Wagner. He pushes the nervous parts and consistently proves that he has a sensitive ear not least shown in his supreme feeling for sound: the singers are never drowned by the orchestra. This, in turn, is a result of the high level of the whole team.
Conductor Patrik Ringborg held everything together superbly, bringing out a chamber-like quality from the score which corresponded perfectly to the dramatic action.
Patrik Ringborg has carefully worked on the details of the immensely rich score. ... in total, the orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera made as grand an achievement as always these days.
... The Walküre of the Gothenburg Opera is more suitable for listening than hearing. The orchestral playing under Patrik Ringborg is almost always exquisite, well-balanced and – not least – dynamically varied.
Wagners' music ... is impossible to resist, especially since it is performed by an orchestra, which itself is ecstatic, an orchestra, that moreover is to be seen performing and enjoying its artistic task. Patrik Ringborg ... and the musicians give us a fantastical musical experience.
The orchestra expanded with four harps and the special Wagner tubas was given a leading part. Patrik Ringborg conducts engagingly and full of insight - before open curtain. ... The intimate side – yes, there is one! – of the Walküre is allowed to flourish. From time to time Wagner becomes chamber-musical, but Ringborg also makes room for the heroic eruptions in the orchestral part.
A ... musically very impressive reproduction of the most striking part of the tetra-logy ... with a general's overview and never failing observance of detail Patrik Ringborg pilots the singers as well as the orchestra through the intricate shades of the giant score between violent sound eruptions and almost chamber-musical transparency.
... here it is obvious, how intense and captivating the drama becomes when the orchestra is visible as a co-actor and visualises the music under the same conditions as the singers. ... When the leitmotifs are woven together and wander through the different instrumental groups, we may follow a totally new and very fascinating "Allkunstwerk", for example ... when the bass clarinet turns into a living and perceivable supporting actor in the fight between father and daughter. Thereby the conductor also is moved into the visible centre, and Patrik Ringborg looks as if he is feeling good in the part. He has everything under full control and knows what he wants with his Walküre. This as well becomes a drama of its own, when he elicits and brings out the nuances, details and dramatic escalation of the orchestra of the Gothenburg Opera, an orchestra giving everything.
The stage in the Walküre at the Gothenburg Opera holds not only the singers, but the whole orchestra as well - extraordinary huge with 90 musicians, among others four harps in a row. It is nice, following the work of the conductor Patrik Ringborg not only as a minor matter in an opera performance. He has this gigantic orchestra almost literally in his hand, and in addition to the fact that it sounds good, his body language represents a small performance within the performance.
The music flows irresistibly beautifully when the Gothenburg Opera shapes its production under Patrik Ringborg. It proves successful to have this big orchestra visible, to be able to follow the in Wagner's music so intimate teamwork with the singers.
With this performance, the Gothenburg Opera has secured its position as a Wagner stage, and the guest of honour this evening, Birgit Nilsson, who was celebrated with standing ovations, must have felt satisfied and proud. Now we await the remaining Ring at the Gothenburg Opera!
An exceptional orchestra was exemplarily conducted by Patrik Ringborg.
The fascinating possibility to view the stage as well as the orchestra on the same level, surely brings out the danger of occasionally having the singers drowned by the orchestra. But the conductor Patrik Ringborg is a fantastic musician, and seldom could such a enchanting implicitness and diversity in details be heard in the Walküre, additionally wrapped with a round and clear sound.
It didn't take many bars of the furious prelude depicting Siegmund's escape, until the excitement reached the boiling point, and there it stayed!

Patrik Ringborg@facebook