Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Ring Cycle

For those not in the know, Wagner’s The Ring Cycle is one of the most famous operas ever written. It tells the tales of German and Scandinavian legends – of Gods and Rhine maidens and magical rings and features the famous ride of the Valkyries.

It is arguably the biggest Opera ever conceived. It is certainly the longest. In its entirety, the full cycle – made up of 4 separate ‘operas’ - takes 15 hours to perform over 4 nights.

It is a hugely expensive production and is very rarely performed. Opera lovers will plan over seas travel to see it. Opera companies staging a production need additional millions to put it on and start promotion at least 18 months out. If you need to find enough Opera buffs who are keen to put themselves through 15 hours of intense Wagnerian Opera, paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars on the tickets to attend – let alone get to the host city – you need a start asap!

As far as I can tell, The Ring Cycle has only been performed in Australia three times. In Melbourne in 1913, in Adelaide in 2004 and now again in Melbourne in 2013!

Opera Australia are staging the full 15 hours in November / December 2013. Tickets go on sale in late 2011 and I am pre-registering because I am super-keen to see this magnificent work in its entirety once in my life. It is sure to be spectacular.

These are some of the stats from the Opera Australia website:
  • Rehearsals will begin a year in advance.
  • The orchestra will include more than 100 players.
  • 350 singers, dancers, designers, costume-makers and backstage staff will be involved
  • The Ring Cycle features 34 principal roles.
  • The set is expected to take 14 months to build.
For a look at what The Ring Cycle is like, check out my favourite Looney Tunes cartoon of all time.

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