At Sydney University, Ralph Middenway played Satyavan in the three-handed Gustav Holst opera Savitri, staged in the Wallace Lecture Theatre. Writing music for several plays was further useful background. Later, at Tudor House School he directed and sang in Amahl and the Night Visitors, the short opera by Gian-Carlo Menotti.
After moving to Adelaide his position as Manager of Union Hall and his musical interests naturally involved him in Elder Conservatorium productions. For seasons of Menotti’s The Telephone and The Medium, he designed and built the sets, and was stage manager. He filled the roles of production manager and stage manager for the Con over a period of fifteen years. He worked with directors Donald Munro and Jim Vilé, and musical directors Georg Tintner (Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridyce), David Swale (Mozart’s Idomeneo) and Elyakum Shapirra (Mozart’s Il Nozze di Figaro).
In 1968 he chaired a Committee looking at the future of professional opera in South Australia.
Between 1968 and 1988 he reviewed opera in Adelaide and elsewhere, and wrote about opera and opera people for The Advertiser, with a spell at The Australian. He particularly remembered Marilyn Richardson as Isolde; Ruggero Raimondi as Don Giovanni, Elisabeth Varady as Donna Elvira; and James King as Siegmund.
In 1986 he and two musical colleagues founded the Wagner Society in Adelaide.