Singing Praises

Seattle's classical-music critics aren't always the most harmonious bunch, but they do agree on one thing: Seattle Opera's production of Wagner's Ring is a hit. Seattle Times critic Melinda Bargreen called it "four nights of glorious opera." The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's R.M. Campbell declared director Stephen Wadsworth's staging "an endless feat of invention." And Seattle Weekly's own Gavin Borchert praised diva Jane Eaglen for a "performance of genius" (see "With This Ring, I Thee Wed"). Want to see what you're missing? Forget about it: The Ring has been sold out for nine months and won't be staged again here for another four years. But you can hear the final three operas in the cycle on KING-FM (98.1). Die Walküre airs at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20; Siegfried at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27; and Götterdämmerung at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3. See www.king.org for details. LYNN JACOBSON

PASSING THE BATON

Seattle Symphony's Christian Knapp, who was recently promoted from assistant conductor to associate conductor, now has a new title: interim music director for the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra. He takes the baton from Huw Edwards, who resigned earlier this year. Knapp is well-respected by SSO players; his résumé includes conducting stints in London, Los Angeles, St. Petersburg, and Cape Town, South Africa. New-music fans are waiting to see whether he will continue to introduce the young musicians of SYSO to contemporary scores, a tradition established by Edwards and Jonathan Shames before him. GAVIN BORCHERT AND LYNN JACOBSON

TALKING TRASH

Gwen Stefani, the white-blond sexpot who fronts the band No Doubt, will stop in Seattle on her first solo foray, the Harajuku Lovers Tour, Monday, Nov. 21, at KeyArena. She's promoting her album Love, Angel, Music, Baby, source of one of the most adored and reviled dance tunes of the year, "Hollaback Girl" ("This is my shit. . . . This is my shit"). For a delightfully pseudo-intellectual interpretation of the song, see Greg Stacy's "probing analysis" in the OC Weekly. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 20, at 206-628-0888 or www.ticketmaster.com. LYNN JACOBSON

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