Victorian Opera announces 2014 Season

Richard Mills_photo by Martin Philbey 1Victorian Opera has announced its 2014 Season, Chapter Two; a series of operatic experiences for all ages, inspired by classic and contemporary literature.

“Finding its origins from historic and modern texts, next year’s season pulls from the page-to-the-stage epic stories of love, sacrifice and the fleeting illusion of ‘happily ever after’,” said Richard Mills, Artistic Director of Victorian Opera, who marks his second year at the helm of the company with the 2014 season.

“As a company, we are unconstrained by traditional definitions of what an opera program ‘should’ be. This allows us to re-examine standard repertoire, present new Australian works, offer a varied program, engage international performers and foster developing artists locally.

In 2014 Victorian Opera continues a bold commitment to commissioning new Australian work with the world premiere of The Riders.

Presented in partnership with Malthouse Theatre, The Riders is composed by 2013 Helpmann award-winner Iain Grandage with libretto by Alison Croggon, from the Tim Winton novel of the same name, and follows the struggle of a suddenly single parent, brought to life by Barry Ryan, star of this year’s Nixon in China.

Young hearts run free in a fresh take on Verdi’s Gatsby-esque world dubbed the ‘Traviata of the Mirrors’. In a 21st century ‘selfie’-obsessed culture, legendary scenographer Josef Svoboda’s ground-breaking design, with its enormous mirror suspended above the stage, brings a fresh new relevance to the cult of celebrity.

Soprano Jessica Pratt debuts in the role of Violetta in this Australian premiere of Fondazione Pergolesi Spontini’s La Traviata.

Following the success of Sunday in the Park with George, director Stuart Maunder returns to mount an irreverent story that asks what happens beyond ‘happily ever after’ in a new production of the Tony Award-winning Into The Woods – a musical fairy tale mash-up by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine.

Bellini’s Norma features one of the most challenging and coveted roles of opera with its title character. In this rare concert performance by Victorian Opera, international opera star Saioa Hernández takes on the challenge.

Playing her unfaithful husband is renowned Australian tenor Rosario La Spina, and joining them is former developing artist with the company Nicole Car, who has been cast as Adalgisia, a return to the composer’s original intention to have a soprano in the role.

Continuing its important role in fostering young talent and youth audiences, the annual Youth Opera returns with the medieval music drama The Play of Herod, and for schools audiences an operatic retelling of the classic Brothers Grimm tale Hansel and Gretel is presented in partnership with Arts Centre Melbourne.

Bookending either side of the season will be a series of community programs and concerts that include the gala concert Games of Love and Chance with Monash University, and plans for a grand-scale sing-along with combined community choir event The Big Sing.

“We invite our community to join us in turning the page to a new year and the new adventures that go along with it,” said Richard Mills.

For more information, visit: www.victorianopera.com.au for details.

Image: Richard Mills photo by Martin Philbey

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