Queensland is certain to prove irresistible to Wagner fans next year. Not only will it host Opera Australia’s new, fully digital production of the Ring Cycle in November 2020, it will also now see Queensland Opera present two performances of Tristan und Isolde in October. Acclaimed New Zealand tenor Simon O’Neill will take on the role of Tristan, with American soprano Meagan Miller as his Isolde. Finnish conductor Pietari Inkinen, who has conducted the Ring and Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg for OA, will lead the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and OQ Chorus in a semi-staged production by Artistic Director Patrick Nolan, which will also feature video elements. Tristan will represent Inkinen’s company debut.

Simon O’Neill. Photo © Albert Comper

“Opera Queensland is delighted to bring some of the world’s leading opera singers to Australia to perform what is widely regarded as one of the greatest operas in the musical canon,” said Nolan, who has been intending to program Tristan since his appointment in April 2017. “It will be 15 years since Brisbane audiences had the opportunity to experience Tristan und Isolde and there’s a certain yearning that has crept in to hear it again.”

“There are very few people on the planet who can sing Tristan and Isolde and we worked in collaboration with Pietari to cast Simon and Megan,” he added. “Their voices needed the right quality and texture, their vocal types needed to match, and they needed to bring to the role not only a highly-skilled vocal aptitude but an emotional range that comes from a rich life experience.”

“Opera Queensland has been planning Tristan und Isolde as a showpiece event for almost two years and by beautiful coincidence, it will also serve as a perfect prelude to [OA’s] Ring Cycle.”

Meanwhile, further casting details about OA’s Ring Cycle have been announced, with confirmation that German tenor Stefan Vinke will reprise the role of Siegfried for the company after his 2016 performances. Ukrainian bass Vitalij Kowaljow is scheduled to play Wotan, with English soprano Allison Oakes as Brünnhilde, German tenor Andreas Conrad as Mime and Latvian soprano and OA regular Maija Kovalevska as Gutrune.

Opera Australia, Aida, Davide Livermore, ReviewAida. Photograph © Prudence Upton

Complementing its performances of the Ring, and making Brisbane an even greater opera hotspot in 2020, OA has also announced that it will bring its digital production of Aida to Brisbane in 2020, with Opera Queensland co-presenting. The staging by David Livermore premiered in Sydney last year, with Limelight‘s Editor Jo Litson praising elements of the digital production as “impressive.” Cast members reprising their roles include soprano Natalie Aroyan as Aida, French-Russian mezzo Elena Gabouri as Amneris, Diego Torre as Radames, and Italian bass Roberto Scandiuzzi as The King. Mongolian baritone Amartuvshin Enkhbat, who recently made his company debut in Melbourne as Rigoletto, will return as Amonasro, appearing alongside the Opera Australia Chorus, Opera Queensland Chorus and Queensland Symphony Ring Cycle Orchestra.

“Co-presenting this work with Opera Queensland has given us the opportunity to further showcase our digital development program to the people of Queensland, and we’re proud to have again assembled an amazingly talented cast of singers and musicians,” said OA Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Opera Australia to bring this very fine production to audiences in Brisbane,” added Nolan. “The visual brilliance and very fine cast in this Aida is not to be missed.”

Opera Queensland’s Tristan und Isolde is at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC, October 28 and October 31 2020 

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Opera Australia will present three cycles of the Ring Cycle at Queensland Performing Arts Centre in 2020. Cycle 1 will play November 10 – 17; Cycle 2 will play November 19 – 26; and Cycle 3 will play November 28 – December 5

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Opera Australia’s Aida is at the Lyric Theatre, QPAC from November 17 – December 4

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