Opera Australia's Ring in Melbourne loses its conductor. Nessun dorma?

Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 5 June 2013 | 6:35:00 pm

Richard Mills, taking a backseat?
In a very odd turn of events , Richard Mills has decided to quit as conductor of Opera Australia's high profile, and sold out, Ring cycle in Melbourne - due to premiere in just five months time.

And  why has he decided to leave the $15 million, Neil Armfield production of  the Ring - to be broadcast live and internationally on Australian radio's Classic FM? According to Mills, who has only ever conducted one other large scale Wagner work (a concert performance of Tristan und Isolde in 2005) it was due to lack of  "vibrancy and character." in " the chemistry between cast and conductor".  He went on, "Unfortunately the necessary unity of vision for this piece on this occasion was not achieved".

Therefore in the interests of an outstanding cast and production, and after a great deal of thought, I have decided to withdraw. I have been completely supported by the team at Opera Australia at all times and this decision is mine alone. I wish the project the great success I am sure it will achieve as a landmark event in the history of opera in Australia.”

No new conductor has yet to be announced and given the short time spans involved and the fact that most, if not all, of the leading Wagner conductors will be engaged elsewhere,  we would suspect that things are rather "hectic" at Opera Australia even as we type.  Indeed, given the time difference, perhaps a Puccini aria might be appropriate about now: