Last April, in the teeth of the pandemic, Melbourne Opera barreled ahead with Das Rheingold, raising the curtain on a new “Ring” cycle. Suzanne Chaundy directed; Andrew Bailey designed the set; Anthony Negus conducted. The production scored high on drama and music in the local and foreign press, and already the same team is back with the second installment, showcasing an all-Australian cast. Warwick Fyfe tackles Wotan, chieftain of the Norse pantheon, enmeshed at every turn in agonizing family entanglements. Zara Barrett is his disobedient daughter Brünnhilde, the Valkyrie of the title. Lee Abrahmsen and Bradley Daley portray his twins by a mortal woman, separated as children, now reunited in a blaze of carnal passion. Sarah Sweeting appears as Wotan’s wife Fricka, the outraged guardian of marriage vows. And let’s not forget the eight lesser Valkyries, that spectacularly rowdy bunch leading the charge at the top of the final act. (Remember Apocalypse Now?) —M.G.
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