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The Valkyries will (finally) ride into Brisbane in 2023

Culture

Richard Wagner’s Ring cycle is known as one of the most ambitious productions in operatic repertoire, and it has been just as ambitious to get it to stage, with a new set of dates announced for 2023 following years of postponements.

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The production is a world first for digital storytelling in the Opera, and will transform QPAC into the kingdom of the Norse gods in December 2023, marking the first time the full Ring cycle is performed in Queensland.

In order Das RheingoldDie WalküreSiegfried and Götterdämmerung will be played through three times in full during the Brisbane season in a 15-hour production.

Ushering the grand opera into the modern world, director Chen Shi-Zheng’s rendition is the first fully digital production of Wagner’s Ring cycle

The production uses projection, video, and cinematography through kinetic digital LED panelling suspended from the ceiling.

Shi-Zheng said the use of digital elements and landscapes are intended to challenge the audience to consider what is a dream and what is reality.

Richard Wagner’s operatic epic Der Ring des Nibelungen is four operas based on a reworking of Norse mythology.

Fusing drama and music, the complete story follows the forging of a ring by greedy dwarf Alberich which is cursed by Wotan, King of the Gods so that all people covet it.

What follows is a story of love, revenge, betrayal, war, and renewal which Wagner used to interrogate the moral and political structures of the 19th century.

Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini said he is thrilled new dates have been secured after two postponements.

“As disappointing as it was to have to postpone again this year, I’m heartened that this pandemic and all its restrictions will be well and truly behind us when we open in 2023, when international audiences will again be able to visit Brisbane,” he said.

The season will see seven performances of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida (Image: Opera Australia, Natalie Aroyan Georges Antoni)

“It’s clear this spectacular new digital production of the Ring has captured the imagination of many fans around the world, so it’s very comforting to know it will now be available to everyone.

“We’ve been very lucky to again be able to secure conductor Phillippe Auguin, stellar American soprano Lise Lindstrom and the world’s best and most in-demand Siegfried, German tenor Stefan Vinke.

“I’m also excited that Australians Daniel Sumegi and Anna-Louise Cole will be making their debuts as Wotan and Brünnhilde. We’re looking forward to continuing the journey and finally bringing this innovative production to the stage,” said Mr Terracini.

The Ring cycle in Brisbane will now run at QPAC in December 2023, with one day between each performance, as well as seven performances of Verdi’s Aida.

The production was initially scheduled to debut in November 2020 but had been postponed twice due to Covid-19 related concerns.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the Ring Cycle would reinforce Brisbane’s reputation as a key destination for exclusive cultural experiences.

“We look forward to welcoming audiences to this landmark event, which will generate economic and cultural tourism outcomes, providing employment opportunities for our local artists and arts workers,” Enoch said.

“Opera Australia’s decision to stage the Ring Cycle in Brisbane is a prelude to Brisbane’s role as a global cultural hub ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympics when our arts and cultural offerings will be showcased on the world stage.”

The Ring Cycle will be performed at QPAC three full times from 1 December to 21 December. 

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