Ring Postscript – the conclusion of lots of opera

Tuesday, 17 December 2013


I posted a couple of weeks ago about how I was going to a lot of opera, the Melbourne Ring Cycle, 16 hours of Wagnerian music spread over four days. Toss in the necessary rest days and it takes a week to get through. I could equally accurately title it Maureen’s Ring Cycle, because she was heavily involved in getting it off the ground.

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▲ The Rainbow Bridge to Valhalla, the closing scene of Rheingold, the first of the four operas.

OK, I’m not the Wagner enthusiast (or even the opera enthusiast) in our family, but even an amateur like me could see this was a fabulous performance. Real Wagner enthusiasts don’t even talk to you until you’re into at least double figures and I’ve only been to four Ring Cycles, but this was easily the best. And I wasn’t the only one to come to that conclusion.

There were some great reviews, topped by Classical Voice America’s review titled ‘Bedeviled Ring Seemed Doomed, Then Curtain Rose,’ an enthusiastic review which concluded with the comment that ‘This was one of the best Rings anywhere in a very long time.’ You can read Maureen’s comments about the production here.

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▲ I love Neil Armfield’s stunning production, the Rheingold conclusion with its rainbow chorus line was my favourite moment, although I was nearly as blown away by the opening scene where the bottom of the Rhine River somehow got mixed up with an Australian beach.

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▲ Or the amazing appearance of the giant Fafner, Jud Arthur making himself up as a dragon, in Siegfried. The photos are all by Jeff Busby, Opera Australia.