Although it was premiered in Bayreuth in 1876, it was another 122 years before The Ring Cycle by Richard Wagner was fully staged in Australia. In 1998, the State Opera of South Australia staged all four operas in a production borrowed from the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris. Six years later the SA company staged the first Australian-created cycle, directed by the late Elke Neidhardt. Both SA presentations were outstanding successes.
It is regretted that the Adelaide Cycle was not revived as expected, but Melbourne met the hopes of Wagner fans with a production staged by Opera Australia at the Victorian Arts Centre in 2013. Designed by Australians and directed by Neil Armfield, the Melbourne Ring was widely acclaimed. It is being revived in November and December of this year.
The Ring Cycle consists of four operas linked by themes from the great Norse sagas. They are: Rhinegold, The Valkyries, Siegfried, and Twilight of the Gods. In Melbourne, all four operas will be presented in three cycles, each cycle being performed over eight days.
The first cycle opens on November 21, the third cycle concludes on December 16. Many have already booked to see complete cycles; now bookings have opened for individual operas, possibly more convenient for those unable to be in Melbourne for eight days or wishing to experience just part of this masterpiece.
Each of the four operas can stand alone dramatically and musically; some are longer than others.
Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator Australia for less – just $20 for 10 issues