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Brisbane chosen to host stupendous operatic masterpiece

June 3, 2019 Headline News No Comments Email Email

In a world first, Brisbane is to host a brand-new, hi-tech production of a musical work considered by many to be the greatest operatic masterpiece ever written – Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, or ‘The Ring’.

Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen is recognised internationally as the pinnacle in operatic staging, attracting devotees from around the world who immerse themselves in 15-hours of extraordinary musical and vocal performances over four glorious nights.

Marking the first large-scale performance of the full Ring Cycle to be held in Queensland, this production promises to be like no other ever staged. It will use the latest technologies in sets and lighting to produce the world’s first fully digital Ring Cycle.

The sets will incorporate huge LED screens suspended from the ceiling, choreographed to move seamlessly around the stage, creating a visual landscape that organisers say will need to be seen to be believed.

The Ring is set to play out in Brisbane over four weeks in late 2020.

The scale and scope of Wagner’s Ring Cycle is epic. It follows the struggles of gods, heroes and mythical creatures over a magical ring that grants dominion over the world.

If that sounds a bit like The Lord of the Rings – no wonder. But Wagner wrote Der Ring des Nibelungen in the 1870s and Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings about 70 years later, which indicates the direction in which the inspiration flowed.

Wagner’s Ring Cycle. A 19th-century interpretation

The mighty drama and intrigue of Der Ring des Nibelungen continues through three generations of protagonists, until the final cataclysm at the end of Götterdämmerung.

The music is phenomenal and the work is known as the Everest of Opera.

Queensland’s Tourism Industry Development Minister, Kate Jones, has confirmed the production will be staged in November and December next year.

Brisbane’s ‘Ring Cycle’ will be directed by Chen Shi-Zheng, the first Chinese director to take on The Ring, bringing his renowned use of theatre technology to produce the first ever Ring featuring suspended, moveable LED screens and ground-breaking digital technology.

Jones said Opera Australia had chosen Brisbane as the stage for one of its most ambitious and innovative projects to date, bringing the city, and the internationally recognised masterpiece alive.

“The Queensland Performing Arts Centre is the best in Australia and was specifically chosen by Opera Australia to host this event,” she said.

The Ring Cycle comes to Brisbane

“The fact that Brisbane will host this internationally-significant production is a testament to the fact that our innovation sector along with our arts industry is world-class.

Jones said The Ring would generate 35,500 visitor nights and pump more than AUD 15 million into the local economy.

“When it comes to major events, Queensland has the runs on the board,” she said.

“We’ve just hosted rugby league’s Australian-first Magic Round, April’s ground-breaking innovation festival QODE and now we’ll host the world’s most high-tech opera.

“We’ve more than doubled the value of Queensland’s major events calendar since 2015 – this year tipped to pump AUD 800 million into our economy.”

Wagner’s greatest patron, King Ludwig II of Bavaria

Minister for the Arts Leanne Enoch said The Ring was a significant announcement for Brisbane’s theatre community.

“Opera fans from around the globe will flock to Brisbane to experience this performance which will bring cutting-edge technology together with an extraordinary four-part opera,” she said.

“The great nightlife and tourism experience experiences Queensland has to offer played a major role in Brisbane securing the ‘Everest’ of opera and the ground-breaking world-first digital production that Opera Australia have planned.”

Richard Wagner with his wife Cosima, photographed in 1872

Deputy Mayor Krista Adams said she was thrilled Opera Australia has recognised Brisbane by choosing it to stage their most ambitious project to date.

“Major events like this shine a spotlight on our wonderful city, draw interstate and international visitors, fill hotel rooms and boost hospitality, retail and service industries.

“We look forward to welcoming opera aficionados from around the world and trust all visitors will enjoy our clean and green city, relaxed outdoor lifestyle and diverse tourism experiences”.

Opera Australia chief executive Rory Jeffes believes that bringing Australia’s most ambitious operatic event to the Sunshine State is an important step for the company.

“Partnering with the Queensland Government and the broader artistic and cultural community in Brisbane makes this a hugely exciting undertaking for Opera Australia.

“The support from local Queensland arts, tourism and education bodies has been really strong, and we are confident these collaborations will make all the difference to the success of the project.”.

Written by Peter Needham

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