Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s potted Ring cycle is essential viewing for newbies and veterans alike.

The intrepid Sydney Symphony Orchestra has come up with the fastest and funniest way to explain 16 hours of grand Romantic opera. Matthew Backer narrates a fast and furious cartoon drawn by Nathanael Van Der Reyden (one of the SSO’s graphic designers) and directed by Kai Raisbeck (their Digital Content Producer). The smart and funny script comes courtesy of Limelight regular Sarah Noble.

In a mere two and a half minutes we are taken on a whistle stop tour of Wagner’s labyrinthine plot which turns out to be not just hilariously funny but surprisingly succinct and informative. “It’s like a cross between Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones,” said Yvonne Zammit, The SSO’s Head of Communications “It took maybe a week of Kai’s time but it’s definitely been worth it.”

Raisbeck trained at Sydney’s NIDA and so was able to call upon matthew backer – an old friend – to deal with the tricky narration – at times faster than a Gilbert and Sullivan patter song. “It was amazing to watch the narrator handle the text – you can get a bit tongue-tied with all those German names,” said Zammit. “It took a few takes but we got there in the end.”

Mark Wigglesworth conducts the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Henk de Vlieger’s The Ring – an Orchestral Adventure in a series of concerts over the next few days and as an added bonus you get Chopin specialist Ingrid Fliter playing the Second Piano Concerto. What’s not to like?

Wagner’s Ring Adventure plays the Sydney Opera House, September 18-21.

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