A special installation has been unveiled at the Piazza in Rosalind Park to celebrate Richard Wagner's epic opera series, Ring Cycle, taking up residence in Bendigo's Ulumbarra Theatre for five weeks.
Bendigo is the first regional city in Australia to stage one of the most ambitious and largest performing arts productions on the international stage with over 250 Australian singers, musicians, creatives and technicians involved.
Produced by Melbourne Opera, the $5M critically acclaimed opera blockbuster will be a major tourism draw for Bendigo and the region as the entire Ring Cycle series will be performed three times from Friday March 24 until Sunday April 30 at the Ulumbarra Theatre, attracting opera fans from all over Australia and internationally.
The Ring Cycle series consists of four individual operas, Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, and draws on characters from Norse mythology. The plot revolves around a magic ring forged from gold and a part of the story is set in a gold mine. Theatre audiences will be immersed in gods, giants, serpents, Valkyries (warrior women) and dragons.
Each Ring Cycle will be performed three times with individual operas spanning two-weekend periods from Friday-Sunday. That will mean six busy weekends in total, encouraging visitors to stay overnight and longer in Bendigo and the region.
As a major cultural event attracting a largely out of town audience and more than 250 performers, creatives and technicians from Melbourne Opera, this will have a significant boost to the local economy, particularly for local accommodation providers, retailers and hospitality businesses.
City of Greater Bendigo Manager Bendigo Venues & Events Julie Amos said the Ring Cycle’s residence at the Ulumbarra for five weeks was a coup for Bendigo and the region.
“We are very excited to be staging such an ambitious opera rarely performed in its entirety on the international stage,” Ms Amos said.
“This is the biggest production ever staged by Bendigo Venues & Events staff and we’ve secured this exclusive opportunity thanks to our incredible investment in world-class facilities. We’ve already sold 75 per cent of tickets and we anticipate a surge in demand for remaining tickets once people have experienced the first opera performance on March 24.”
Melbourne Opera Producer Greg Hocking said the Ulumbarra Theatre was perfect for this epic performance.
“Bendigo is very fortunate in having the beautiful Ulumbarra,” Mr Hocking said.
“There are only two or three theatres in Australia that can accommodate the Ring Cycle and one of them is in Bendigo. You will get the full Wagner experience from an all Australian cast in a relatively intimate environment. People will be knocked out by that.”
The eye-catching installation in Rosalind Park’s Piazza celebrates this epic production. Orange, yellow and red flames are embedded in the ‘Bendigo’ letters to appear on fire. On the ground is a huge 3D designed decal (8.2 metres by 8.2 metres) which has been created by local creative designer Steven Stanley from Modart Design. The installation highlights some of the Ring Cycle mystical elements including Fafner the dragon, a river filled with gold and the rainbow bridge to the gods’ home in the sky.
Residents and visitors are encouraged to take pictures standing on the decal, which gives the illusion that the earth is opening below you. As an eye-catching activation, the installation aims to draw visitors and residents to the city centre to encourage them to stay longer, shop, eat and support local businesses. This installation follows other popular activations in the Piazza including the Viva Bendigo letters, Royal Pop-Up Tram, Mary Quant mural and the Forever Marilyn sculpture.
A five-week cultural festival wraps around the Ring Cycle performances with talks, recitals, exhibitions, dinners and special events. This is a collaboration between the City’s Tourism and Major Events and Bendigo Venues and Events units, Melbourne Opera and many local businesses.
Events during the Ring Cycle include:
- An exclusive behind the scenes Gala Dinner on the stage at the Ulumbarra Theatre with special guest performances and a three-course dinner reflecting Bendigo’s City of Gastronomy designation
- Down the Mine - Melbourne Opera Chamber Orchestra will perform Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll underground at Central Deborah Goldmine
- German Bendigo Walking Tour – Germans played many integral roles as the third largest community on the goldfields and this tour celebrates their contribution to Bendigo’s development
- Wagner Symposium: Rivers of Gold! Wagner in Bendigo at La Trobe Art Institute delves into the composer’s work with a series of talked by leading musicologists and performers
- Wagner: Lord of the Ring – Wagner’s Frenemies presented by Melbourne Opera at Langley Estate features the life and times of Richard Wagner, including his musical friends and enemies