With Melbourne in the grip of Ring fever – Wagner’s Ring, that is, what is there for children to enjoy? Not the main event perhaps! With three cycles of the four operas, the longest being the last – Gotterdammerung at 6 hours and 40 minutes (and with prices that are hardly bargain-basement, reflecting the mammoth undertaking this is) few families are opting for the Ring as a kid-friendly exercise.
But many parents know there’s a lot to enjoy, quite apart from the stirring music, colourful sets and costumes – and singers who show just what the human voice is capable of. As the title suggests, there’s a female in a leading role. She gets one of the best tunes in the whole cycle: the famous Ride of the Valkyries … and she attracts the love of the hero.
Why does Brunnhilde need to save the world? Well, the world of nature has fallen into ruin owing to greed – greed for the Ring (and a magic helmet) created by the dwarf Alberich who stole pure gold from the water nymph to make it. The Ring was cursed but its power made it the object of desire for dwarves, giants, gods and even humans.
Children who enjoy magic as part of their stories will find plenty of it in this show, as Brunnhilde breaks through the curse of greed – through love.
So what will the audience see? Brunnhilde Saves the World is an affordable 50-minute show for the entire family with script and soundtrack by David Kram, adapted from Richard Wagner’s mythological Ring Cycle of music dramas. Narrated by Melissa Madden Grey, with vocal interludes sung by Nicole Wallace and Michael Lampard and animations by Leigh Ryan. Fully staged by Hugh Halliday, costume design by Greg Clarke. Rated PG (contains mythological images such as slaying a monster).
Organisers at More than Opera believe you’re never to young to fall in love with Wagner, and recommend Brunnhilde Saves the World as a wonderful and enjoyable starting point for appreciating this great music. David Kram, Artistic Director for More Than Opera says of the project:
“Since 2012, MTO’s movie-length multimedia version of Wagner’s Ring Cycle entitled The Ring.Wagner.Animated has received awards, appeared in a major festival and toured to regional Victoria. We created an even more compact version, lasting just fifty minutes, with a team of three rather than fifteen. This is truly a cost-effective option for touring to schools.”
Brunnhilde Saves the World shows at the Opera Centre in Southbank on December 3, 4 and 5 at 2.30 pm and 4.30 pm.
Editor’s note: Most of the information in this story was provided by More Than Opera, and this is a co-production with Classic Melbourne.