Rehearsing Wagner’s Ring with Orchestra Victoria

Tony Gilham (Associate Principal Trombone of Orchestra Victoria) writes from rehearsals for Opera Australia’s epic cycle of The Ring of the Nibelung 

Photo courtesy of Orchestra Victoria

Photo courtesy of Orchestra Victoria

Opera Australia’s production of Wagner’s Ring cycle is into its second week of orchestral rehearsals as I write this. With over 100 musicians involved in the production we are now getting into the full swing of things. For the majority of the musicians this will be the first time they have performed the Ring cycle. Personally, I have only performed Die Walküre and that was way back in 1981, for an onstage production with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

The rehearsals are taking place at Orchestra Victoria’s (OV) home base at Albert Park (minus the grand prix cars). This venue has a good size hall, but it is pretty much packed to the rafters with musicians. Not really surprising considering we have to fit in nine double basses, six harps, eight horns (four doubling on Wagner tubas), four trombones (fourth part on contrabass trombone), one tuba, three trumpets, one bass trumpet, two stierhorns, two sets of timpani, percussion and numerous strings and woodwinds.

Orchestra Victoria’s normal complement of musicians is around 60, so quite a number of musicians have been seconded to help with this major production.  OV is using its pool of casual musicians, plus we are fortunate to be joined by musicians from many other Australian orchestras (including AOBO, MSO and SSO) and some from overseas.

The lower brass section for this production is:

First Trombone – Scott Evans (OV-Principal Trombone)

Second Trombone – Tony Gilham (OV-Associate Principal Trombone)

Bass Trombone – Will Farmer (AOBO-2nd/Bass Trombone)

Contrabass Trombone – Eric Klay (MSO-Bass Trombone)

Bass Trumpet – Ron Prussing (SSO-Principal Trombone)

Tuba – Jon Woods (OV)

OV Ring cycle lower brass 2013

OV Ring cycle lower brass (L to R): Ron, Jon, Eric, Will, Scott and Tony 

For a full list of the musicians involved in Opera Australia’s Ring please click here.

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