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The Ring pops in

 

The beginning and end of the world happens in Melbourne (at least for this month)

 

For any serious opera buff (devotee, fanatic and hysteric too)… Melbourne will surely be the centre of the known universe this month, as Opera Australia performs the highly-anticipated Ring Cycle. Only 6000 tickets were available to experience these monumental opera performances – spread over 4 nights, running a total of 16 hours (the final instalment being a staggering 5+ hours…), the cheapest tickets going for $1000…the event was sold out within 24 hours of listing last year.

There’s a lot more happening around the city than just the opera performances – Opera Australia, the City of Melbourne and others have created a whole festival of related events. On Saturday there was the “Arrival of the Valkyries” parade, last night was The Ring Gala Dinner and over the next weeks there will be many other Ring events – cabarets, films, exhibitions and talks… some of them serious and intellectual, others not quite so…

Of course no great festival could be complete without its share of temporary retail… the official Ring Cycle Pop Up Shop opens tonight at the Arts Centre (Box Office foyer) – from 1 hour before each performance and through the intervals, offering a range of quirky merchandise (tea towels, fridge magnets) and limited collections of designer pieces. Local artists were invited to create unique items – fine ceramics, printed bags, themed shawls… even scarves made from the fabric off-cuts of Ring costumes !

Later in the month there will be series of Laneway Lunches with Wagner – pop up outdoor events with food, wine and performances in the Ring theme…

Robert Doyle, Lord Mayor of Melbourne has said they’ll be “bringing Wagner’s music into the streets, concert halls and galleries of our city. The Melbourne Ring Festival will showcase the talent and skill of Melbourne artists…” (and The New York Times has listed the Melbourne Ring festival as number one in its list of must-see cultural events of the year…)

So… if you don’t yet know a Valkyrie from a Rhine maiden… get yourself along to some of the Ring events this month in Melbourne – experience the Wagnerian culture (and support our local artisans) !

 

Images : Opera Australia Ring Cycle Rhine maidens – image Keith Saunders

 

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