Wagner intended Der Ring des Nibelungen to be a three-day theatre festival with a preliminary evening. That preliminary evening is Das Rheingold – the shortest of the four operas – and like a chef’s first course in a degustation, it serves two purposes.

As a palate cleanser, it rids the audience of any preconceptions about what it is about to see, and as a manifesto, it lays down the rules of engagement between the creative team and audience.

It is where Wagner introduces his key leitmotifs – the Rhein, the curse, etc. – and the notion of seeing and hearing as one.

And it provides the creative team with the opportunity to present its visual vocabulary to support this. After all, this is a Gesamtkunstwerk in which all the visual elements combine with the music to create a total theatre work, in which each complementary part is equally important.

The promise of a “digital Ring” conjures up all sorts of ideas, as well as the suspicion that the director and designer may throw everything but the kitchen sink at you. No fear.

Opera Australia’s Das Rheingold in Brisbane. Photo © Opera Australia

At one...