“Much of Anthony Legge’s work at Opera Australia has been behind the scenes, guiding the singers in the sound they make and helping them understand their roles. However, audiences would have seen him conducting a range of operas from Mozart to Puccini to Prokofiev”.
Ironically, Legge himself is well aware of the importance of Melbourne to the company he has been with for seven years, telling de Soysa:
“Another achievement with which I was partly involved and am proud of, was performing The Ring in one go. I talked to Adrian [Collette] a lot about this. Not one opera each year, which takes four years of performing one of the four operas each year and in the fifth year making the cycle, by which time you’ve run out of money. That’s what’s happened in a lot of places where they’ve never achieved a cycle. We decided to be really dangerous and do the whole cycle together. It was easier to raise money – all the Wagnerites are absolutely enthusiastic about going to the whole thing so that’s what we did in 2013 which was a Wagner anniversary year anyway and then we repeated it in 2016.
“It was an enormous success. We were lucky to get international singers to give up that amount of time to sing in Australia. If you’re only in one of the operas like Sieglinde, for example, you’re hanging around in-between your performances, so it’s very hard to pin down international singers for that length of time, but we achieved it and to achieve two Ring cycles like that is more than most opera companies have done.”
It seems that Legge reserves his praise for others in the company, and the wider world of opera, but his own achievements are significant. Read the whole of Shamistha de Soysa’s interview with Anthony Legge to understand why he is so well regarded, why his departure is a great loss to Opera Australia – and what he plans to do next.