It is just 18 months since the Royal Opera gave a series of Ring cycles, in the new Keith Warner production. The Mariinsky will give just one complete cycle in a production that has already been seen at Cardiff’s Wales Millenium Centre.

Valery Gergiev, one of the conductors you either love or loathe (or more likely sometimes love and sometimes loathe), has collaborated with set-designer George Tsypin on a colourful interpretation that draws on Russian, Caucasian and Scythian folk mythology.

The four part work, which runs for some 15 hours (that is just music and excluding intervals), weaves an almost unbearably powerful spell as it delves into Teutonic mythology and lot more besides. For anyone who hasn’t sampled its wonders, it is a demanding but incredibly rewarding experience.

Seeing all four parts (strictly three parts and a prologue) - Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung - on consecutive evenings is not that usual and will demand a strong constitution. Nevertheless, it is likely to sell-out extremely quickly, as demand for tickets for this extraordinary event (and there’s no other way to describe a complete cycle of the Ring) is always very high.

The Mariinsky’s Ring will play at the Royal Opera House on 29, 30, 31 July & 1 August.

- Simon Thomas