Australian Ring Sweeps Helpmann Awards

Classic Arts News   Australian Ring Sweeps Helpmann Awards
The State Opera of South Australia's production of Wagner's Ring cycle won ten awards at Australia's Helpmann Awards yesterday, including best opera.

The Helpmann Awards, known as the Bobbies, are Australia's leading performing arts awards. This year's awards were presented in a ceremony at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney's Star City casino.

The November 2004 Ring cycle, the first-ever fully Australian production of the work, was directed by Elke Neidhardt; soprano Lisa Gasteen starred as Br‹nnhilde. Asher Fisch, music director of the Israeli Opera, was the conductor. The set, designed by Michael Scott-Mitchell, included massive fountains of water and jets of flame.

The production swept the opera categories, winning for best direction, best male performer, best female performer (for Gasteen), best male supporting performer, best female supporting performing, best music direction, best costume design, and best scenic design. It also won for best special event.

The Australian Ballet's production of Stephen Baynes's Unspoken Dialogues (Southern Lights) was the biggest dance winner, with prizes for best choreographer, best male dancer, and best female dancer. Shen Wei Dance Arts' performance at the Sydney Festival was named best ballet or dance work.

Conductor Simone Young, the former music director of the Opera Australia, won best performance in a classical concert for a program of Mahler with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

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