Griffith University has signed a major new partnership deal with Opera Australia, joining forces to stage the world’s first fully digital production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre in 2020.
The production will provide a showcase for students from the Queensland Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra, who will perform alongside musicians from Opera Australia and Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
There will be on-stage roles for opera, acting and musical theatre students, and internship opportunities across the university, from the creative arts to marketing and events management.
Known as the Ring, Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen is an epic masterpiece that attracts opera devotees from around the world, with 15-hours of musical and vocal performances over four nights.
The first large-scale performance of the full Ring Cycle held in Queensland will feature cutting-edge sets and lighting, with huge LED backdrops that will move seamlessly around the stage.
Griffith University Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Carolyn Evans, said the partnership with Opera Australia would provide a once in a lifetime opportunity for Griffith students.
“The Queensland Conservatorium hosts Australia’s finest opera school and is home to the country’s finest orchestral students,” she said.
“A production like this provides an exclusive opportunity for our students to participate in a world-class event.”
Professor Evans said Griffith University had previously collaborated with Opera Australia on the Griffith Opera on the Beach series, held over six nights at Coolangatta Beach.
“We are delighted to deepen our ties with Australia’s national opera company,” she said.
“This partnership will provide great practical outcomes for students, from performance opportunities to internships.”
Queensland Conservatorium Director Professor Scott Harrison said the production would provide an “unforgettable experience”.
“For students to play side by side with professional musicians on a production on this scale is incredibly important,” he said.
“We already present fully-staged operas as part of the students’ training and are currently gearing up for our annual opera production – Mozart’s La Finta – helmed by our new Professor of Opera Studies, Johannes Fritzsch.
“This opportunity with Opera Australia takes it to a whole new level and gives our students a genuine foothold in the profession.”
Opera Australia’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini described the Ring as the “Everest” of opera.
“Creating a Ring Cycle is an extraordinary adventure, it’s exhilarating, challenging, stimulating and incredibly rewarding for all those involved, whether in the audience or on the stage or behind the scenes, it’s an amazing ride for everyone,” he said.
“For Brisbane 2020 we’ve amassed an incredible team to bring this production to the stage, not least, an amazing orchestra that we have created in partnership with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.
“Together this group of artists and creative geniuses will produce the most innovative and exciting production of the Ring Cycle ever staged, anywhere in the world.”
Internationally acclaimed movie, theatre and opera director Chen Shi-Zheng will be the first Chinese director to take on The Ring at this scale and promises to bring the mythological Norse storyline into the future with a nod to Chinese mythology.
Opera Australia, in association with Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, Opera Queensland and Queensland Symphony Orchestra, will present the Ring Cycle Brisbane, Queensland in November – December 2020.
Pre-sale tickets are available from 13 June at opera.org.au/ring