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Brisbane to host world first operatic masterpiece

29 May 2019

Minister Jones with Opera Australia's CEO and Artistic Director

In a world first, Brisbane will host a brand-new production of Richard Wagner’s operatic masterpiece Der Ring des Nibelungen, or ‘The Ring’, set to play out over four weeks in late 2020.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the production would be staged in November and December next year.

Known as the Everest of Opera, Brisbane’s ‘Ring Cycle’ will be directed by Mr Chen Shi-Zheng, the first Chinese Director to take on The Ring, bringing his renowned use of theatre technology to produce the first ever Ring featuring suspended, moveable LED screens and ground-breaking digital technology.

Ms Jones said Opera Australia had specifically chosen Brisbane as the stage for one of its most ambitious and innovative projects to date, bringing the city, and the internationally recognised masterpiece alive.

“The Queensland Performing Arts Centre is the best in Australia and was specifically chosen by Opera Australia to host this event,” she said.

“The fact that Brisbane will host this internationally-significant production is a testament to the fact that our innovation sector along with our arts industry is world-class.

Ms Jones said The Ring would generate 35,500 visitor nights and pump more than $15 million into the local economy.

“When it comes to major events, Queensland has the runs on the board,” she said.

“We’ve just hosted rugby league’s Australian-first Magic Round, April’s ground-breaking innovation festival QODE and now we’ll host the world’s most high-tech opera.

“We’ve more than doubled the value of Queensland’s major events calendar since 2015 – this year tipped to pump $800 million into our economy.”

The event was secured by the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland, in partnership with Brisbane City Council, through Brisbane Marketing.

Minister for the Arts Leanne Enoch said The Ring was a significant announcement for Brisbane’s theatre community.

“Opera fans from around the globe will flock to Brisbane to experience this performance which will bring cutting-edge technology together with an extraordinary four-part opera,” she said.

“The great nightlife and tourism experience experiences Queensland has to offer played a major role in Brisbane securing the ‘Everest’ of opera and the ground-breaking world-first digital production that Opera Australia have planned.”

Deputy Mayor Krista Adams said as Australia’s New World City, Brisbane was proud to host the internationally recognised operatic masterpiece.

“Brisbane is a world-class destination for major events and we are thrilled Opera Australia has recognised this and chosen our city to stage their most ambitious project to date,” Cr Adams said.

“Major events like this shine a spotlight on our wonderful city, draw interstate and international visitors, fill hotel rooms and boost hospitality, retail and service industries.

“We look forward to welcoming opera aficionados from around the world and trust all visitors will enjoy our clean and green city, relaxed outdoor lifestyle and diverse tourism experiences”.

Opera Australia CEO Rory Jeffes believes that bringing Australia’s most ambitious operatic event to the Sunshine State is an important step for the Company.

“Partnering with the Queensland Government and the broader artistic and cultural community in Brisbane makes this a hugely exciting undertaking for Opera Australia.

“The support from local Queensland arts, tourism and education bodies has been really strong, and we are confident these collaborations will make all the difference to the success of the project,” said Jeffes.

Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen is recognised internationally as a masterpiece and the pinnacle in operatic staging that attracts devotees from around the world, who immerse themselves in 15-hours of extraordinary musical and vocal performances over four glorious nights.

Marking the first large scale performance of the full Ring Cycle to be held in Queensland, this production will be like no other ever staged, featuring the latest technologies in sets and lighting, resulting in the world’s first fully digital Ring Cycle.

The sets will incorporate huge LED screens suspended from the ceiling that are choreographed to move seamlessly around the stage, creating a visual landscape that will need to be seen to be believed.