Regional Australia’s first-ever opera festival is coming to Bendigo in 2023

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Regional Australia’s first-ever opera festival is coming to Bendigo in 2023

Credit: Robin Halls

Melbourne Opera presents The Ring Cycle Cultural Festival - a regional Australian first.

The Ring Cycle is the pinnacle of opera — a 17-hour epic journey performed over four nights, consisting of four individual operas – Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung.

Made possible by Melbourne’s most distinguished and committed arts patrons led by Patron in Chief Lady Primrose Potter, and led by internationally recognised conductors Anthony Negus and David Kram AM, Melbourne Opera’s production of Richard Wagner’s mammoth Der Ring Des Nibelungen (Ring Cycle) is heading to Bendigo in an Australian-exclusive.

Named The Ring Cycle Cultural Festival, this regional Australian first is coming to Bendigo in March-April 2023.

Stay up to date with what’s happening on stages around the region here

Directed by Suzanne Chaundy, the festival presents three Ring Cycles alongside recitals featuring star-singers, gala dinners on stage, talks, exhibitions and a full day Wagner symposium. All four Ring operas will be staged in full at the acoustically impressive Ulumbarra Theatre. Drawing attention from international opera lovers, over half of the full cycle tickets have already been sold, including 30% to interstate and international buyers.

The not-for-profit arts organisation’s $5 million production will employ over 250 Australian singers, musicians, creatives and technicians. The exclusively regional production is expected to drive major tourism to Bendigo with three full Ring Cycles performed over six weeks from 24 March – 30 April 2023.

The Ring Cycle Cultural Festival features an all-Australian cast accompanied by internationally acclaimed singers, and led by creatively gifted director, Suzanne Chaundy. Suzanne is excited to crown her immense staggered staging of Wagner’s epic Ring with an even bigger undertaking, a season of three full cycles. She discusses her direction of Siegfried, ahead of the concert performance.

“Siegfried emerges – both literally and metaphorically – from darkness to light as he pieces together who he is and meets his destiny. We will tell this tale as an adult fairy-tale, full of mythical horror and deep-seated psychological yearning,” says Chaundy.


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Performed in the intimate space of the Ulumbarra Theatre, with a 90-piece Melbourne Opera Orchestra, Wagner’s Ring totals 17 hours of stage time across four operas, and is known to be the inspiration behind many great themes, stories and soundtracks across the ages. The plot of this four-part music drama is understood to have inspired Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, and the score includes highlights such as Siegfried’s Rhine Journey and Funeral March, Wotan’s Farewell and the infamous Ride of the Valkyries, known to modern audiences for its memorable use in iconic films such as Apocalypse Now.

Each Ring Cycle will be performed over two weekends at the Ulumbarra Theatre, encouraging longer stays in the booming Bendigo region, which has hosted a range of international arts and culture exhibitions and events in recent years. The Ring Cycle will be sung in German, with English surtitles.

Melbourne Opera continues its successes as one of Australia’s busiest opera companies with a roving, site-specific production of The Marriage of Figaro at The Australian Club on 16 October, and Mozart by Moonlight in the Royal Botanic Gardens in partnership with Australian Shakespeare Company in February 2023.

Richard Wagner’s Der Ring Des Nibelungen (Ring Cycle) will arrive at Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo from 24 March – 30 April. Tickets from $900 for a full Ring Cycle over two weekends via Bendigo Venues & Events.