The Final Countdown to the Ring: Now available for listening on demand

Little Richard at ArtSound FM, Canberra

The recording of the Final Countdown to the Ring outside broadcast is now available at the Episodes tab. We have split it up into 5 sections of around an hour.

Thanks again to everyone who was involved, and from the entire Countdown to the Ring team across the Fine Music Network, we hope that you enjoyed the series, and the Melbourne Ring Cycle if you were able to see it!


The Final Countdown is over – and it was a lovely day!

We had a fantastic time at the Final Countdown to the Ring, and we hope that everyone enjoyed listening to the broadcast. 3MBS, 5MBS and Fine Music FM simulcast the event, with Artsound Canberra and 4MBS to broadcast hilights soon.

Here are some photographs of what was a very hot and fun filled day.

We began the set-up in the wee hours of Sunday morning – this is at about 6:30am. L-R: Peter Holmes, Cameron Paine and Nick Simpson.


Margot Costanzo and Frank Prain took the first shift, chatting with Professor Heath Lees…


and Dr. Kerry Murphy


Then we streamed Opera Australia’s ‘Insight Talk’ from the State theatre, and the production team had a moment to breathe. L-R: Jess Pantou, Cameron Paine, Nick Simpson and Sam Johnstone.



Adele Schonhardt (above) and Ruth Rentschler (below) got into the swing of things with our ‘design a Wagner helmet’ activity table. A big thanks to Adele, Jane O’Callahan and Helen Laffin for their help on the day!


As did Peter Bandy when he was interviewed by Nigel Simpson and Loretto Perkins about his involvement in the Countdown to the Ring series.


Little Richard’s helmet was probably the coolest!


Loretto and Nigel were delighted to speak with Melbourne Ring Cycle benefactor Maureen Wheeler…


And joint concertmasters of the Melbourne Ring Orchestra: Aubrey Murphy and Roger Jonsson.


Loretto was a star and took on a double shift in the now quite warm broadcast tent (Little Richard was there all day!)


Loretto was joined by Doug Beecroft for the final shift, and they spoke with the lovely, talented and hilarious Jacqui Dark, (who provided the ‘Ring In’ segment in the Countdown to the Ring series, and sings the parts of Fricka and 2nd Norn in the Melbourne Ring Cycle).



They were then joined by Australia’s superstar soprano, Nance Grant and Leslie Bawden – member of the Wagner Society, Ring Cycle veteran and self confessed ‘ring nut’.


Doug brought out his own ‘Tarnhelm’, which was very impressive…


And came in handy when drawing the audience prize of a deluxe box set of the Solti Ring cycle recordings (which was won by Jacqui Dark – a happy coincidence – it was all above board, we assure you!)


A great day was had by all – thanks to everyone who listened, came to the broadcast, and helped make The Final Countdown to the Ring possible!


Gearing up for ‘The Final Countdown to the Ring’


Little Richard recently visited the Melbourne Town Hall with presenter Loretto Perkins to interview Lord Mayor Robert Doyle in the lead up to ‘The Final Countdown to the Ring’ outside broadcast. Come along to the Arts Centre forecourt in Melbourne on Sunday 1 December from 9am until 2pm or listen to 3MBS Digital / Online, Fine Music (Sydney) Digital, or 5MBS FM Adelaide to hear the broadcast live. Scroll down for full article about the broadcast.

Countdown to the Ring says farewell…

We now have reached the final episode of the ten-part Countdown to the Ring series. Little Richard heads this week to Sydney as  Opera Australia’s Lyndon Terracini interviews Melbourne Ring Cycle Director Neil Armfield direct from Ring Cycle rehearsals (NB: with thanks to Jessica Pantou for production).

On behalf of the entire Countdown to the Ring team, it has been a pleasure bringing you this series. If you are lucky enough to see a Ring Cycle performance either in Melbourne or elsewhere – enjoy! If you’ve missed an episode, you can still stream Countdown to the Ring online.

If anything else, this series has highlighted the passion, knowledge and awareness of Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle in Australia, and this 10-part series has been nothing short of an epic collaboration.

Without turning this into an Oscars acceptance speech, I would like to thank the following individuals/organisations:

To Margot Costanzo for the original concept, and to the 3MBS team of Peter Bandy, Frank Prain, Jake Osborne, Evita Louis (Melbourne/India) and Jane O’Callaghan – what a ride! To Jacqui Dark, from our regular “Ring-In” segment – your hilarious behind-the-scenes commentary continued to bring us up, close and personal with Melbourne Ring Cycle happenings – thank you.

To guests, presenters, producers and colleagues across the Fine Music Network, Opera Australia, the Wagner Society of Victoria, The University of Melbourne, The Windsor Hotel, the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia and other affiliated organisations  who have collaborated on this project, thank you for your commitment and enthusiasm across this series.

To Hans Henkell, and the Community Broadcasting Foundation – a big thank you for your support for this project.  Innovation often doesn’t come cheap, and financial support is a crucial part of the creative development process.

I hope that you have enjoyed the series – and perhaps leave us knowing just that little bit more about Wagner – the man and his works. I know, I certainly have.

Joel Carnegie
Countdown to the Ring Melbourne Team
Executive Producer, Broadcaster, Creator.

Little Richard Done

‘The Final Countdown to the Ring’ – Outside Broadcast from the Melbourne Ring Festival


Wagner fans prepare to party! – ‘The Final Countdown to the Ring’

On Sunday 1st December between 9am – 2 pm 3MBS will host a very exciting event  – an Outside Broadcast at the Victorian Arts Centre to celebrate all things Wagnerian and provide listeners with further insights into Wagner and his Ring Cycle.

This broadcast will be the culmination of the ambitious and very successful series ‘Countdown to The Ring’ – a collaboration initiated by 3MBS and involving the MBS network nationwide  – celebrating Wagner’s 200th birthday and the excitement of the lead up to Opera Australia’s Melbourne production of The Ring Cycle.

This exciting broadcast will air live from the Ring Festival ‘Festspielhaus’, a stage in the forecourt of the Arts Centre theatres building (or inside if the weather is inclement), and will be broadcast both on Digital and Online on 3MBS, and also aired on other Fine Music Network Stations.

3MBS Presenters Isabel Veale, Loretto Perkins, Doug Beecroft, Margot Costanzo, Frank Prain & Nigel Simpson will host the broadcast, and will chat with a number of prominent people involved with The Ring project including ‘Ring’ cast members Stuart Skelton (Siegmund), Jacqui Dark (Fricka / Second Norn), Susan Bullock (Brünnhilde), as well as musicians from the Melbourne Ring Orchestra.  Other guests include arts philanthropist and benefactor of the Melbourne Ring cycle Maureen Wheeler, musicologists Prof. Heath Lees and David Kram, Wagner scholar Prof. Kerry Murphy and more.

The Broadcast will also include the highly acclaimed cabaret-quintet The Ringtone Cycle for Soprano, Piano Trio and IPhone (a witty fusion of music of Graeme Koehne & text by Peter Goldsworthy) featuring Lisa Harper-Brown and the Seraphim Trio, which will be aired in full, and our hosts will chat with the performers as part of the broadcast.  Will Brünnhilde find her Mr Right??

The broadcast with be very much a family-friendly event. Dress up as your favorite Wagner character and bring the kids.  Our ‘Countdown to The Ring’ mascot Little Richard is really getting into the swing of things, practicing for our ‘Design a Wagner Helmet’ competition (he’s pictured wearing his latest effort!) We hope many little Brünnhildes and Siegfrieds will take up the challenge. There will be other activities for the kids as well – craft supplies provided, just bring enthusiasm.

All audience members who attend the broadcast will have the chance to go in the draw to win a deluxe box set of the Solti Ring recording.

Join us for a joyous, informative and fun-filled celebration!

                       Jane O’Callaghan

                    ’Countdown to The Ring’ Team