This month’s striking black and white cover features Anita Yavich’s costume designs for the gods Wotan, Loge, Fricka and Freia in Opera Australia’s new ‘Digital Ring’, opening in Brisbane in December.

In our cover story, Ring in the New, Jansson J. Antmann explores the mystique of Wagner’s magnum opus with directors Chen Shi-Zheng, Sir David Pountney and Neil Armfield, as well as soprano Lise Lindstrom who returns to Australia to play Brünnhilde in OA’s new Ring Cycle.

Mahler’s symphonies were deeply autobiographical. So, is his Ninth Symphony – which he wouldn’t live to see performed – about his impending death? In our second feature, Mortal Music, Limelight Editor at Large Clive Paget unravels the power, mystery and meaning of Mahler’s last completed symphony, and talks with Alexander Briger, who will conduct with the work with the Australian World Orchestra in November.

In her best-selling novel The Dictionary of Lost Words, South Australian writer Pip Williams explored the creation (mostly by men) of the Oxford English Dictionary and the women’s suffrage movement. Now, the novel has been adapted for the stage by Verity Laughton and is being co-produced by State Theatre Company South Australia and Sydney Theatre Company. Ahead of its world premiere in Adelaide, Cassie Tongue talks to Williams, Laughton and director Jessica Arthur in our third feature A Woman’s Word.

Had it not been for Sir Eugene Goossens, the Sydney Opera House might never have been built. As the world-renowned building celebrates its 50th anniversary, Vincent Plush examines the maestro’s 10-year career in Sydney, the scandal that brought it to an end, and the road to the Opera House’s official opening in October 1973. It makes for a fascinating read in our fourth feature Father of the House.

Paget also interviews Scottish composer and conductor Sir James MacMillan as the Sydney Philharmonia Choirs prepares to perform his Stabat Mater, and reviews Barrie Kosky’s new production of Das Rheingold at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, which can be seen in Australian cinemas in October, courtesy of Palace Opera & Ballet.

Antmann chats with virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell about returning to Australia to perform with the internationally renowned Academy of St Martin in the Fields, of which he is Music Director. Deborah Jones interviews composer Elena Kats-Chernin, conductor Stephen Mould and director David Berthold about Kats-Chernin’s jazzy reimagining of Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea, which is to be given its Australian premiere by students from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and NIDA.

Limelight Editor Jo Litson talks with American tenor David Miller about classical crossover group Il Divo, which is set to tour Australia for the first time since the tragic death of Spanish baritone Carlos Marín.

In this month’s My Music column, SOH CEO Louise Herron reveals she often cries in concerts and practises the cello every morning before work, after starting lessons five years ago. In Playing Up, Riley Lee – the first non-Japanese person to attain the rank of Dai Shihan or Grand Master of the shakuhachi – traces his journey playing the Japanese bamboo flute.

Celebrated Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Flórez answers 5 Questions about his forthcoming recital tour in Australia and the non-profile organisation Sinfonía por el Perú, which he founded in 2011 to help disadvantaged children make music and improve their lives.

In this month’s Soapbox, Guy Noble ponders our dopamine addiction and obsessive need to feel good. Maddy Briggs previews the cutting-edge Volume festival at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. And, as usual, we review the latest classical album releases, preview some of the upcoming performances around the country, and list the highlights on ABC Classic and the independent classical radio stations. Enjoy all this, and more!

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