The first-ever fully digital Ring Cycle opens in Brisbane this week

OA Dominica Matthews Deborah Humble Jennifer Black Mariana Hong Agnes Sarkis photo by Wallis MediaOpera fans from around Australia and the world will descend on Brisbane this week for the World Premiere of visionary Chinese Director Chen Shi-Zheng’s production of Wagner’s epic Der Ring des Nibelungen or simply, the Ring Cycle.

Opera Australia’s (OA) highly anticipated production has been many years in the making. After two covid-induced postponements in 2020 and 2021, hundreds of hours of rehearsals, costume and wig-making, scenery and props construction and digital content creation, the Company’s most ambitious production in its history will finally open at Brisbane’s Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) on Friday 1 December 2023.

Opera Australia’s CEO Fiona Allan paid tribute to the tenacity and unwavering support of the entire Ring Cycle team, along with the stakeholders, partners and sponsors who kept the faith.

“They say it takes a village, and this is the most extreme example I have ever seen of a professional village coming together, and sticking together through the darkest hours of the pandemic, to finally bring this incredible production to the stage,” she said.

“Shi-Zheng and his team have created something quite unique. I can unequivocally claim that this is the most stunning production of the Ring Cycle ever staged. From the incredible singers and musicians, to the visually mind-blowing set designs and costumes, it is quite a remarkable achievement.”

“On behalf of the entire OA family I pay tribute and many thanks to our partners, the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland, Brisbane City Council and QPAC. And to all our supporters and sponsors including the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations, I promise you will not be disappointed, we have created a Ring Cycle that Australia can be very proud of,” said Ms Allan.

OA could not have staged a production of this scale without the support of local performing arts companies the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Opera Queensland and Dancenorth.

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe welcomed the cast and crew to Brisbane. “Seeing the curtain finally rise on this much anticipated world-renowned opera in Brisbane will be a special moment for the thousands of Ring Cycle fans who’ve travelled from around the globe especially to see it,” said Minister Hinchliffe.

“Many who come for the opera will extend their stay and take the opportunity to experience the region and Queensland’s world-class tourism attractions. It will also provide a boost for local businesses, with visitors expected to inject almost $16.5 million into the local economy, supporting good Queensland tourism jobs,” said Minister Hinchliffe.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the presentation of Wagner’s Ring Cycle and Verdi’s Aida will continue to strengthen Queensland’s international reputation for exceptional arts and cultural experiences. “Epic opera blockbusters like the Ring Cycle showcase brilliant Queensland talent, alongside leading national and international artists and arts workers,” said Minister Enoch.

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas applauded the remarkable collaboration required to stage the production with five Queensland organisations (including QPAC) partnering with Opera Australia for the Ring Cycle.

“We’re extremely proud of the way our industry has come together for this season, bringing the best of Queensland talent and expertise together with national and international cast and creatives,” said Mr Kotzas.

“Staging any production of the Ring Cycle which comprises four individual operas is already a massive undertaking, adding a fifth opera into the mix with Aida is incredibly ambitious but clever programming as you don’t have to be an opera aficionado to appreciate its wide appeal,” added Mr Kotzas.

With 27 semi-trailer loads of technical equipment, costumes, stage pieces and props all transported from Sydney, 14 tonnes of LED screens, a 45 hours of performance, and more than 350 cast, musicians and support crew required to stage all four operas, OA’s Ring Cycle is the biggest operatic event happening in Australia right now, and quite possibly the world.

Each of the four operas are themselves extraordinary works, with fantastical tales of dragons and gods and mystical forces that stand alone as pinnacles of the artform, but combined they create one of greatest artistic masterpieces of all time.

Opera Australia and Opera Queensland will also present Aida – which opens Wednesday 6 December and will be staged on the nights between the Ring operas. Making its Brisbane premiere at QPAC, this highly acclaimed staging of Verdi’s renowned classic was the first production in the world to revolutionise opera with digital screens.

Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring Cycle) premieres at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre from 1 December 2023. For more information, including performance dates and cast, visit: for details. Checkout the trailer here!

Image: Dominica Matthews, Deborah Humble, Jennifer Black, Mariana Hong and Agnes Sarkis in Die Walküre – The Ring Cycle, Brisbane 2023 – photo by Wallis Media