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Ring True: Music, Identity and Obsession


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It took 25 years for Richard Wagner to write Der Ring des Nibelungen (the Ring Cycle); presumably he was hoping people would like it. But did he anticipate that his masterpiece would be an enduring source of obsession for people in the 21st Century?

For this conversation, we’re bringing celebrated American radio producer, former film composer and Ring Cycle devotee Jad Abumrad together with one of the world’s foremost authorities on Wagner, Heath Lees. Taking the Ring Cycle as their starting point, the pair will discuss music, obsession and identity.

Why and how does music hold power over us? What does extraordinary music do to our brains? And what does identifying with a work like the Ring Cycle mean personally, socially and even politically?

Hosted by Casey Bennetto.

Presented in partnership with Opera Australia.


Jad Abumrad

Jad Abumrad is the host and creator of Radiolab, a public radio program broadcast on 524 stations across the US and downloaded more than 9 million times a month as a podcast. Most days, Radiolab is the second most popular podcast, just behind This American Life. Abumrad did most of his growing up in... Read more

Heath Lees

Heath Lees is an academic, musicologist, broadcaster and the founder of the Wagner Society of New Zealand.

Casey Bennetto

Casey Bennetto is an award-winning writer, musician and radio broadcaster. He wrote the musical KEATING!, hosts the program Superfluity on Melbourne’s 3RRR, and has appeared in places as diverse as ABCTV’s Spicks and Specks, the Melbourne International Arts Festival and the Festival of Dangerous... Read more


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