Bendigo has ringside seats for Wagner epic

Richard Wagner's epic Ring Cycle opera heading to regional Victoria

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STURM UND DRANG: Warwick Fyfe gives it his all as Wotan in Melbourne Opera's Ring of Fire, the second opera in Wagner's Romance-era paean to sacrificial love . Photo: Robin Halls

STURM UND DRANG: Warwick Fyfe gives it his all as Wotan in Melbourne Opera's Ring of Fire, the second opera in Wagner's Romance-era paean to sacrificial love . Photo: Robin Halls

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Bendigo thrilled with news Melbourne Opera will perform full Ring Cycle over six weeks.

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One of the biggest productions in all the performing arts, Richard Wagner's epic Ring Cycle, will be staged in Bendigo by Melbourne Opera.

The $5 million production at the Ulumbarra Theatre will employ more than 250 Australian singers, musicians, creatives and technicians.

Exclusively staged in Bendigo, the production will see three full Ring Cycles performed over six weeks from March 24-May 1, 2023 at

The production also marks Bendigo's inaugural annual Easter opera festival, presented by Melbourne Opera.

"This is a historic moment for our company, not to mention our country's opera industry," says company director Greg Hocking.

"Our production is only the third ever Australian-generated production of Wagner's Ring, not to mention the first full staging of the Ring in regional Australia,"

Each Ring Cycle will be performed over two weekends, from Friday-Sunday.

Wagner's Ring is lauded as the inspiration behind many great themes, stories and soundtracks across the ages.

With a plot that many say inspired The Lord of the Rings, the score includes many iconic moments with famous operatic and orchestral highlights such as Siegfried's Rhine Journey and Funeral March, Wotan's Farewell and Ride of the Valkyries, used to great effect in many films, perhaps most memorably in Apocalypse Now.

Melbourne Opera has already begun a critically acclaimed staging of the operas in the Ring Cycle.

The first opera, Das Rheingold, was performed in February 2021, while Die Walkure was on stage at Her Majesty's Theatre until February 16.

The Bendigo event will follow on February 27, when the full staging of the cycle will be officially launched to the region.

Wagner specialist maestro Anthony Negus will return again to Australia to conduct the production.

"Melbourne Opera is one of my most favourite companies in the world to work with. I am overjoyed to be continuing our Wagner journey with this huge production of the entire Ring Cycle. It is such a wonderful opportunity for the whole company," he said.

The production features an all-Australian cast and chorus led by Warwick Fyfe's Wotan and including Bradley Daley, Simon Meadows, Lee Abrahmsen, Rosamund Illing, Sarah Sweeting, Steven Gallop and Adrian Tamburini.

The talented Suzanne Chaundy, another devotee of the Ring, will direct. She said she is excited to culminate her staggered staging of the Ring with a season of three full Ring Cycles.

"This is a dream come true and something that was on my directorial bucket list. It's a huge creative and logistical challenge which I am ready to tackle head on," Suzanne said.

The Ring Cycle totals 17 hours of performance time and is known to be the greatest challenge for any opera company, as the most impressive and opulent event in the history of the artform.

Melbourne Opera has further significant plans for 2022.

Also coming up is The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny from May 1 with IOpera, the first time a mainstage production of the political satire has been produced in Australia in more than 40 years.

A Mother's Day Bel Canto Spectacular will be performed on May 8, in honour of founding patron Lady Primrose Potter's 91st birthday.

The company will then stage a full production of Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia in August. It was last seen performed in Australia by Dame Joan Sutherland

A perambulatory production of The Marriage of Figaro will be performed at The Australian Club, making use of all the beautiful Victorian rooms.

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