Opera Australia announces 2017 Season

Opera Australia King RogerOpera Australia is on the move, showcasing its creative edge with new venues and exciting programming that will make 2017 a season not to miss.

“The launch of a new season is always an exciting time for Opera Australia and 2017 is our most diverse and adventurous year to date,” says Lyndon Terracini, Artistic Director, Opera Australia. “This season has been designed to provoke thought and discussion as well as to make you marvel at sublime music and the power of the masterpieces which we present to you in 2017.”

“Consequently, we have created an experience that we hope you will find provocative, stimulating and exhilarating. Melbourne will be treated to five new productions including John Bell’s critically acclaimed Carmen and the much loved musical My Fair Lady, under the direction of Julie Andrews.”

“The six-month closure of the Joan Sutherland Theatre in the Sydney Opera House due to much-needed maintenance has presented many challenges, but challenges often demand that we respond in a creative manner. In 2017 you will see Opera Australia on the move as we perform in different venues as well as familiar places.”

Highlights of the 2017 season include the world’s greatest opera singer, Jonas Kaufmann, singing an opera for the first time in Australia. This will be an unforgettable experience as he performs Wagner’s Parsifal in concert, an Opera Australia first. As one of the supreme creations in the history of music, listeners can embark on a magical musical journey. Described by The Guardian as ‘the man with the golden voice and the golden smile’ this will be an extraordinary Opera Australia event.

Melbourne-born international opera star Danielle de Niese will make a triumphant return to her hometown to perform in her first opera in Australia. Starring in Opera Australia’s new production of The Merry Widow, de Niese boasts a story that you couldn’t make up. Of Sri Lankan descent, she grew up in Melbourne before moving to LA at the age of 11 with her family, where she became the host of television show. L.A Kids – which she won an Emmy for at age 16.

Making her professional operatic debut at the age of 15 with the Los Angeles Opera she became the youngest singer ever to participate in the Young Artist’s Studio at the Metropolitan Opera. Married to Gus Christie, chairman of Glyndebourne Festival Opera, de Niese, Christie and their son now reside at Glyndebourne opera house.

Lehár’s charming operetta The Merry Widow will provide ample doses of fun and frivolity and Danielle de Niese is the perfect star to bring this production to life. With spirited choreography and direction from Graeme Murphy, former director of Sydney Dance Company, Lehár’s charming operetta will be filled with unforgettable dance.

Winner of the 2016 Olivier Award for best new opera production, experience the passion and jealousy of Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana and Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci in this co-production with the Royal Opera House. Opera Australia tenor Diego Torre performs both challenging tenor roles in one evening – as the ill-fated Turridu and jealous Canio.

Having never been performed in Australia, Szymanowski’s intoxicating, iridescent music is rarely heard on the opera stage. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear 20th century Polish masterpiece, King Roger starring outstanding Albanian tenor Saimir Pirgu, who was mentored by the ultimate opera legend, Luciano Pavarotti.

Nicole Car has firmly established herself as one of Australia’s most exciting opera singers, with critically acclaimed performances in Luisa Miller at the Sydney Opera House and Eugene Onegin at Covent Garden, and the release of her solo album of operatic arias, The Kiss – debuting at number one on the Australian classical charts in 2015.

Audiences can now experience the splendour and richness of Nicole’s voice as she sings Massenet’s Thaïs, music that explores the ways sacred faith and human passion intersect, in harmonies that blend the exotic and erotic. She performs with partner Etienne Dupuis for the first time in Australia.

Opera Australia is creating a new type of production with Two Weddings, One Bride. Unlike anything the company has ever produced before and created by Robert Greene, and directed by Dean Bryant who directed Anything Goes and Little Shop of Horrors, this production will feature well-loved operetta tunes and plenty of laughs. Starring Opera Australia principal artist Julie Lea Goodwin, who boasts a background in musical theatre, opera, operetta and classical cross-over, audiences are in for a treat with an abundance of sumptuous costumes, pretty sets and joyful melodies.

Winning the hearts of opera lovers internationally, Ermonela Jaho will make her Australian debut as Violetta in La Traviata. As the recipient of the Reader’s Award at the 2016 International Opera Awards, and described by The Economist as “the world’s most acclaimed soprano” it will be a rare treat to witness Jaho on the stage as Violetta, in this classic role.

Acclaimed Australian soprano Greta Bradman enters new territory as she performs in her first opera as Mimi in La Bohème. Granddaughter of Australian sports royalty Donald Bradman, Greta is a recitalist, concert and stage performer with numerous accolades to her name including an APRA/AMCOS Performance of the Year award.

Greta has received nominations for Helpmann, MusicOz and Aria Awards and has recordings with Sony and ABC as well as two solo albums that topped the Australian classic charts, and is a rare talent who will bring an exciting presence to the Opera Australia stage, as she makes her debut in Bizet’s much-loved production.

Known internationally as one the world’s great opera events, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour returns in 2017 with one of the most well-known and loved operas of all time, Bizet’s Carmen. Starring Italian Mezzo Soprano Josè Maria Lo Monaco and Spanish tenor Andeka Gorrotxategi, audiences will be treated to a high dose of passion and heartbreak – this is a production that packs a punch.

Subscriptions are now on sale. For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.

Image: King Roger – photo courtesy of Opera Australia