Magazine article Opera Canada

Australia

Magazine article Opera Canada

Australia

Article excerpt

ADELAIDE

The latest city to throw its hat into Wagner's Ring is Adelaide, where three cycles were given last November and December (I heard the first, November 16-22) by State Opera of South Australia in the city's state-of-the art Festival Theatre. This was not the first Ring mounted in Australia, but it was the first wholly produced here.

The results were extraordinary, especially from the orchestra (an enlarged Adelaide Symphony) led by Asher Fisch. Elke Neidhardt was lured from her native Germany to direct. Clarity of thought was her main objective, in which she largely succeeded through a deft blend of the traditional and the modern. Wotan and all his progeny were redheads, the Valkyries watched Wotan's stormy approach on the weather channel in the Wunder-Bar and Siegfried needed a bit of practice in the art of kissing before he could waken Brunnhilde.

The cast, drawn mostly from Australia and New Zealand, bore eloquent testimony to the wealth of outstanding talent downunder. Lisa Gasteen (Brunnhilde) is probably the best-known opera star Australia has produced since Joan Sutherland, but her strong suits seem to be power and endurance rather than vocal beauty or expressiveness. …

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