Opera Australia is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its national touring program with a new production of Bizet’s Carmen by director Matthew Barclay, that will embark on what’s been dubbed a ‘mega-tour’ around Australia from May through to August 2021.
Over the 25 years Opera Australia has presented more than 655 fully-staged performances in 117 different locations, and covered more than 305,000kms.
Opening at the Drum Theatre in Dandenong on 14 May, the traveling troupe of 32 people including cast, crew, and a chamber orchestra will stop at more than 40 cities and towns across Australia and play to around 30,000 people.
Traditionally the national tour alternates each year between the northern and southern states, however with the cancellation of last year’s tour due to the coronavirus, this 25th anniversary tour will be a combination of both, travelling from Hobart and Warrnambool in the south to Darwin and Katherine in the north, the Gold Coast in the east and Margaret River in the west and more than 30 other places in between.
Opera Australia’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini firmly believes that opera resonates just as strongly with audiences outside the major cities. “We’ve had such a terrific response over the years, and in fact reaching this 25 year milestone is testament to the level of support this tour attracts right across the country,” he said.
“It’s an opportunity for Australians to experience the traditional artform, often for the first time, performed by excellent singers and musicians, that also includes a children’s chorus from each local town or city, giving them invaluable experience with a professional touring company,” said Mr Terracini.
Director Matthew Barclay is honoured to have been asked to direct this 25th anniversary tour. “I’m really excited to create this production of Carmen, and aware that for some people it may be their first encounter with Bizet’s opera, and for that reason I really hope the production enables them to fall in love with the work,” he said.
“Carmen really has it all, some of opera’s greatest music and most famous tunes, Spanish flair, passion, tragedy and a truly enigmatic character in Carmen, but above all it’s about love. It’s the ideal way to showcase world-class opera on stages around Australia,” said MrBarclay.
Set in Seville in Franco’s socially conservative 1960’s Spain, the opera follows the ill-fated relationship of a free spirited gypsy woman, Carmen, and the passionate and ultimately destructive police corporal-turned-rebel Don Jose.
Conductor: Luke Spicer Director & Choreographer: Matthew Barclay Featuring: Angela Hogan, Dimity Shepherd, Agnes Sarkis, Iain Henderson, Matthew Reardon, Danita Weatherstone, Cathy-Di Zhang, Esther Song, Alexander Sefton, Haotian Qi, Michael Lampard, Mathew Waugh, Giuseppina Grech, Genevieve Dickson, Daniel Macey Set & Costume Designer: Anna Cordingley Lighting Designer: Paul Jackson Orchestration: Robert Andrew Greene
Carmen opens at the Drum Theatre, Dandenong on Friday 14 May and tours to selected venues across Australia through to August. For more information, including performance dates and venues, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.
Image: Carmen – courtesy of Opera Australia