Opera Australia Struggles to Move ‘Ring Cycle’ from Sydney to Brisbane

By Chris Ruel
Photo: photoholgic

Opera Australia’s rush to move its production of Wagner’s “Ring Cycle” from Sydney to Brisbane to avoid border closures hit a snag when Brisbane implemented a snap lockdown last weekend, according to an August 1, 2021 report by Linda Morris published in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Opera Australia (OA) has a 10-day window to get the production to the Queensland Arts Center. Brisbane’s lockdown, which has delayed key creatives from arriving in Queensland prior to the cast and crew, places the timetable in jeopardy.

“We are working through all the options available to us and to get our performers to Brisbane and open ‘The Ring Cycle’ on October 29 as planned,” artistic director Lyndon Terracini told The Sydney Morning Herald.

The company is in survival mode after canceling the Australian premiere of “The Phantom of the Opera,” which resulted in a devastating $20 million (AUS) loss. Last week, the federal government earmarked $4 million in emergency assistance from its COVID-19 Arts Sustainability Fund to keep OA afloat.

With its winter season in tatters, OA is desperately trying to keep its head above water. If the company can’t recover, it will have ripple effects across the arts in Australia, according to Federal Arts Minister Paul Fletcher who was quoted in a July 25, 2021, Sydney Morning Herald article, also by Linda Morris.

“Opera Australia has the largest annual revenue of the arts companies supported by the Australia Council. It is the biggest employer amongst them. In a normal year, it presents a large number of high-quality productions in Sydney, Melbourne, and other cities, trains many people who go on to work elsewhere in the arts in Australia and globally, and it has specialised resources and capabilities that, if lost, would be a blow not just to this company but to Australia’s entire arts ecosystem,” Fletcher stated.