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The influential opera coming to Bendigo

Wagner's <i>Ring Cycle</i> influenced <i>Apocalypse Now</i>, <i>Lord of the Rings</i> and <i>Looney Tunes</i> shorts.

Wagner's Ring Cycle influenced Apocalypse Now, Lord of the Rings and Looney Tunes shorts. Photo: Bendigo Tourism

Classical music has a bigger influence over popular culture than most of us would know.

From pop to rock music, TV and film scores, even books – composers from centuries ago have left a lingering legacy.

Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance has been linked to Johann Sebastian Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, while several Led Zeppelin songs have also been compared to Bach tunes.

Even The King, Elvis Presley, was inspired by 1700s composer Jean-Paul-Egide Martini to write Can’t Help Falling in Love.

But it is perhaps a famous opera by 1800s German composer Richard Wagner that has left the greatest legacy in modern-day popular culture.

Wagner’s Ring Cycle, a cycle of four music dramas, has had a hand in works such as Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and even Looney Tunes shorts.

Wagner Ring Cycle

Wagner’s Ring Cycle is coming to Bendigo.

Such is the opera’s lasting popularity it is coming to the Victorian regional town of Bendigo.

Presented by Melbourne Opera, it will be Australia’s first regional staging of Ring Cycle.

Wagner called the production a ‘bühnenfestspiel’, meaning stage festival play, and it is apt given the Ring Cycle will be a $5 million production employing more than 250 Australian singers, musicians, creatives and technicians.

Three full Ring Cycles will be performed over six weeks between March 24 and May 1, 2023 at Ulumbarra Theatre, Bendigo.

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

The score includes many iconic moments with famous operatic and orchestral highlights such as Siegfried’s Rhine Journey, Siegfried’s Funeral March, Wotan’s Farewell and Ride of the Valkyries.

The performances are expected to drive tourism in Bendigo, which is well known as an arts and culture hub.

In recent years, the town has hosted the Elvis: Direct From Graceland exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery in addition to past exhibitions on style and film icons Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly.

The staging of Ring Cycle will mark Bendigo’s inaugural annual Easter opera festival, presented by Melbourne Opera.

International Wagner specialist maestro Anthony Negus will return to Australia to conduct the production, after successful productions of Die Walküre with the English National Opera.

Melbourne Opera’s production features an all-Australian cast led by internationally acclaimed singers who will be helmed by director Suzanne Chaundy.

Find out more or book tickets now

Topics: Bendigo
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