English conductor Nicholas Braithwaite has spent many years conducting orchestras in Australia, England, and throughout Europe, but he is probably best known to audiences for his work in opera. He has led performances of more than 70 operas, including at the English National Opera where he conducted an acclaimed Wagner Ringcycle. On August 4, he conducts a special one night only concert of The Mastersingers of Nuremberg Act IIIfor the State Opera of South Australia, to celebrate 20 years since the company’s first production of the Ringcycle. Braithwaite spoke to Limelightabout his love of Wagner.

Nicholas Braithwaite. Photograph supplied

I know you have a strong connection with Wagner’s music. Can you tell us what makes it so special for you?

I first encountered his music at Covent Garden rehearsals, conducted by Rudolf Kempe, when I was a teenager.  I was bowled over and have been ever since.  It is gesamtkunstwerk – and every single one of his operas is about redemption through love in all the different manifestations that can occur, allied to some of the most sublime music ever written – WalküreAct 1, The Todesverkundigen in WalküreAct 2,...