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Ring Cycle Awards For Opera North
Richard Farnes conducts the Orchestra of Opera North. Photo by Clive Barda
Opera North's critically-acclaimed concert staging of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen won two accolades at last night's prestigious RPS Music Awards. The production topped the Opera and Music Theatre category, while Richard Farnes, who conducted the Ring cycle performances, was presented with the Conductor award.

The annual Royal Philharmonic Society (RPS) Music Awards, presented in association with BBC Radio 3, are the highest recognition for live classical music in the UK. Awards, in thirteen categories, honour the outstanding achievements of musicians, composers, writers, broadcasters and inspirational arts organisations during the preceding year. They are decided by independent panels comprising some of the music industry's most distinguished practitioners.

The Opera and Music Theatre award was presented to Opera North for the six full cycles of Wagner's 15-hour masterpiece which the Company performed in venues across England during 2016, including Leeds Town Hall, Nottingham Royal Concert Hall, The Lowry at Salford Quays, Southbank London and Sage Gateshead. In the Company's pared-back version, the dramatic power of the music was placed right at the heart of the production with the 100-piece Orchestra of Opera North on stage and the singers addressing the audience directly. Minimal costumes and lighting were used to enhance the performances, while a triptych of screens provided subtle visuals and text.

Opera North music director, Richard Farnes, conducts Das Rheingold. Photo by Clive Barda
The Ring also saw conductor Richard Farnes become a leading interpreter of Wagner's epic scores. He conducted all six cycles, in a series of performances which marked the end of his 12-year tenure as Opera North's music director.

Richard Mantle, General Director, Opera North who, together with Richard Farnes, collected the awards at the ceremony said:

"We are delighted and honoured that our performances of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen have been recognised by the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards. When we set out on our Ring journey, we had no idea that our concept for performing the work, in a way that places the drama of the music centre stage, would captivate audiences so completely.

"There is no doubt in my mind that, in Richard Farnes, we discovered one of the great Wagner conducting talents of our time; under his inspiring leadership this Ring proved to be an unforgettable experience for artists and audiences alike."

Ring Cycle Awards For Opera North, 10th May 2017, 20:45 PM