Maria Stuarda

Melbourne-Opera-Maria-Stuarda-Helena-Dix-as-Maria-Stuarda-and-Eleanor-Greenwood-as-Elisabetta-photo-by-Nicole-ClearyAcclaimed soprano Helena Dix returns to the Athenaeum stage this September, from an internationally broadcasted performance in the title role of Norma at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, to make her debut as Maria Stuarda for Melbourne Opera.

Donizetti’s sumptuous Italian opera marks the company’s first production since their internationally acclaimed Ring Cycle Cultural Festival earlier this year. Long regarded as one of the most demanding bel canto roles, Maria Stuarda traces the downfall of Mary Stuart at the hands of Elizabeth I.

Fresh from her triumphant Ring Cycle, Suzanne Chaundy directs this revival of the second opera in her inspired portrayal of Donizetti’s Tudor Trilogy, based on the lives of the three queens in England’s Tudor dynasty. The trilogy is widely considered to be some of the Italian composer’s best works, both musically and dramatically.

“Both Queens were ambitious and single minded. One Queen committed an act of regicide and the other died a martyr,” said director Suzanne Chaundy. “This outcome could easily be attributed to either Queen should fate have ruled differently.”

“I am loving the opportunity to return to this wonderful opera which is a showcase for what bel canto opera does best – beautiful and dynamic music requiring virtuosic vocal and performance skills,” said Chaundy.

Helena Dix previously performed the most demanding role in the trilogy to great acclaim when she took on Elizabeth I in Melbourne Opera’s Roberto Devereaux (2017). She went on to cover the same role at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, considered by many to be the world’s greatest opera house.

“This era was extraordinary, with Elizabeth being the first woman on the throne and one of the first women in power in the canon of western culture as we know it. Maria Stuarda explores one of the most talked about female dynamics in history. It’s riveting stuff, with high stakes and lots of conflict,” says Helena.

A string of virtuoso arias and duets, a famous confrontation scene and the moving execution scene are just some of the highlights of this great work. The Melbourne Opera Chorus and Orchestra are conducted by bel canto specialist Raymond Lawrence.

Director: Suzanne Chaundy | Conductor: Raymond Lawrence | Featuring: Henry Choo, Helena Dix, Eleanor Greenwood, Christopher Hillier, Eddie Muliaumaseal’li, Caroline Vercoe

Maria Stuarda
Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins Street, Melbourne
Season: 9, 13, 15 & 17 September 2023

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Helena Dix as Maria Stuarda and Eleanor Greenwood as Elisabetta – photo by Nicole Cleary