Ghost Sonata

Opera Australia Ghost Sonata - photo by Georges AntoniOpera Australia presents the Australian premiere of Aribert Reimann’s rarely presented work, Ghost Sonata, in a dark new production by Greg Eldridge and staged in the industrial surrounds of the company’s scenery workshop in Sydney from 11 September, before playing The Coopers Malthouse, Melbourne from 25 September 2019.

Based on the play by Swedish author August Strindberg, Ghost Sonata is considered a one-of-a-kind experience. Equal parts thrilling, disturbing and dreamlike, it explores duality in the human condition: truth and lies, illusion and reality. The tale is as strangely poignant now as it was when it was first written in 1907.

Opera Australia’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini says it is an apt production for its unique performance settings. “Strindberg was an interesting character and this opera is an amazing piece. The singing is extreme and the powerful setting lends it something special, making the whole experience truly affecting,” said Mr Terracini.

Australian director Greg Eldridge makes a powerfully haunting directorial debut with Opera Australia with a production designed to make the audience feel like they’re in the middle of an existential crisis.

“Of the characters, they could all be supernatural, or none. They could all be mad, or all caught in the same brilliant light of clarity,” says Eldridge. “The only certainty is that they are each a reflection of a different aspect of ourselves.”

Shanul Sharma, who began his career as a heavy metal singer before transitioning to opera, plays The Student, an innocent bystander with an uncanny ability. He is guided by The Old Man, played by industry veteran and long-time principal Richard Anderson. Together they enter this house haunted by secrets.

Senior Principal Artist and crowd favourite Dominica Matthews plays The Mummy alongside mezzo-soprano Ruth Strutt as the Dark Lady and Cook. Acclaimed award-winning tenor John Longmuir takes the stage as The Colonel, with Danita Weatherstone performing as The Young Woman.

Conductor Warwick Stengards breathes new life into Aribert Reimann’s 1984 score leading an intimate chamber orchestra. The music reflects the world of the text – strange, otherworldly, and sometimes lyrical or deliberately discordant.

Opera Australia also welcomes celebrated young designer Emma Kingsbury to the company for the first time, who is set to make the most of the minimalistic and industrial workshop surrounds to invoke a supernatural atmosphere.

Director: Greg Eldridge Conductor: Warwick Stengards Featuring: Richard Anderson, Dominica Matthews, Ruth Strutt, John Longmuir, Shanul Sharma, Danita Weatherstone, Virgilio Marino, Alexander Hargreaves, Opera Australia Orchestra Assistant Director & Movement: Matthew Barclay Designer: Emma Kingsbury Lighting Designer: John Rayment


Ghost Sonata
Opera Australia Scenery Workshop – The Opera Centre, Dawson Street, Surry Hills
Season: 11 – 14 September 2019
Information and Bookings: www.opera.org.au

Merlyn Theatre – The Coopers Malthouse, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank
Season: 25 – 28 September 2019
Information and Bookings: www.opera.org.au

Image: Ghost Sonata – photo by Georges Antoni

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