Damiano Michieletto’s imaginative production of Rossini’s exultant Il Viaggio a Reims will premiere in the State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne this Friday (24 May), marking the first time the opera has ever been performed in Australia.
Originally written to celebrate the coronation of French King Charles X in 1825, the lavish and highly entertaining opera tells the story of a group travelling to the coronation for which it was written.
In Michieletto’s visually striking production, the setting is moved to an art gallery, where the eccentric characters find themselves surrounded by the world’s most famous artworks as they come to life, including paintings by Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo and Vincent van Gogh.
The production will bring together the crème de la crème of local and international singers to perform as part of the sixteen strong principal cast including popular baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes and star Italian baritone Giorgio Caoduro.
Australian favourites taking the stage include Warwick Fyfe, Julie Lea Goodwin, John Longmuir and Luke Gabbedy. Opera Australia Young Artist Shanul Sharma will perform the role of Conte di Libenskof – arguably one of the most difficult roles in the opera repertoire for a tenor.
Australian conductor Daniel Smith will be making his Australian debut leading this mammoth cast. Currently Principal Conductor at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, Italy, Smith rapidly gained international acclaim after winning First Prize, the Golden Baton and the Orchestra’s Choice Prize, in UNESCO’s International Conducting Competition.
The brilliant combination of Paolo Fantin’s sets and Carla Teti’s costumes will transport audiences to the sensational and visually rich world envisioned by Michieletto. Iconic paintings have been recreated with remarkable fidelity; bringing together a collection of the world’s best known artworks culminating in a grand scale tableau vivant.
A co-production with the Dutch National Opera, Opera Australia and Royal Danish Opera, OA is delighted to present this first Australian performance of Rossini’s incredible work.
Il Viaggio A Reims
State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 24 May – 1 June 2019
Information and Bookings: www.opera.org.au
Image: Il Viaggio A Reims – photo by © Clärchen and Matthias Baus