New Ring Leader announced: Opera Australia confirms new conductor for Melbourne Ring Cycle

Opera Australia has engaged 33 year old Finnish conductor Pietari Inkinen as Richard Mills’ replacement for Melbourne’s Ring Cycle later this year.

Pietari Inkinen
At just 33 years of age, Pietari Inkinen joins Opera Australia as conductor of The Ring Cycle

Mills withdrew as conductor of the epic Wagnerian work in June this year after completing several weeks of rehearsal with the company of singers and director Neil Armfield, citing a lack of ‘personal chemistry’.

Rehearsals for the four operas in Wagner’s Ring Cycle are set to recommence in early September. Inkinen will join Opera Australia to rehearse the company throughout September, October and November and will conduct all performances of the Ring Cycle from Mon 18 November through Friday 13 December 2013.

Artistic Director of Opera Australia is confident in the young musician, who is fast becoming a star of his generation.

“Pietari Inkinen is firstly an outstanding musician,” Terracini said. “He is an impressive conductor with terrific stick technique, and he really demonstrates an innate understanding of, and affinity, with Wagner’s music. His passion for the piece is palpable.”

Inkinen studied at the Sibelius Academy, and was appointed Music Director of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra at just 27 and Principal Guest Conductor of the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra a year later.

Despite his youth, Inkinen has already conducted two of the Ring Cycle operas – Die Walküre and Das Rheingold – Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Italy earlier this year. Due to financial difficulties, performances of the final two operas in Pamermo were postponed, but as such Inkinen comes to Opera Australia’s production extremely well prepared.

Lyndon Terracini is confident he will bring the very best out of the stellar international cast gathered in Melbourne to perform in Opera Australia’s first Ring cycle, and believes that ages doesn’t come into the equation.

“If you’re good enough, you’re old enough”, he said.

“It’s exciting to have a young conductor of immense talent working with Neil Armfield on this life-changing project. As Peter Craven wrote in his wonderful article on the Ring in The Australian, finding the perfect conductor for The Ring is not easy. But we think we’ve got pretty close to it.”

For more information on The Melbourne Ring Cycle, visit

Erin James

Erin James is's former Editor in Chief and a performer on both stage and screen. Credits include My Fair Lady, South Pacific and The King and I (Opera Australia), Love Never Dies and Cats (Really Useful Group), Blood Brothers (Enda Markey Presents), A Place To Call Home (Foxtel/Channel 7) and the feature film The Little Death (written and directed by Josh Lawson).

Erin James

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