Melbourne Ring Cycle – ie lots of Wagnerian opera

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Melbourne Ring Cycle 542
Maureen Valkyrie 271

There was lots of opera in my life last week – a complete circuit of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, the Olympics (or Mt Everest if you wish) of opera. Maureen has spent a lot of time over the last few years persuading Opera Australia to put on the Ring Cycle in Melbourne. Here she is in her persuasive Valkyrie T-shirt. ►





I’m not a big opera enthusiast (that’s Maureen’s role in our relationship), but even a beginner like me could tell this was an amazing production. Here’s backstage, with a selection of the wildlife that features in the sets. ▼
Melbourne Ring backstage 542

Wagner tubas 271◄ Putting on a Ring Cycle requires all sorts of special preparations, in Melbourne that included enlarging the orchestra pit to accommodate a full Wagner-size orchestra and obtaining special instruments like these Wagner tubas.

The end result is 16 hours of music spread over eight days, four separate operas, 10 acts, 16 hours of music. A year ago I told Maureen I didn’t want to be a Ring Cycle virgin when her Ring Cycle arrived in Melbourne. So we went to a Ring Cycle in New York. And then, somewhat unexpectedly, another in London and another in Longborough, also in England. So this was my fourth Ring Cycle. And the final one. Maureen’s already half way through the second Melbourne circuit and there’ll be a third in a week’s time.

Incidentally I wore my Wagner cufflinks to all four operas. Click here or here to read how I inherited these cufflinks from my Great Grandfather. Who was given them just before WW I by Kaiser Wilhelm.