Opera Australia will embark on its 27th annual National Tour with Gioachino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville, opening 14 July at Riverside Theatres, Parramatta before travelling over 14,000 kilometres across the country.
The two-month tour will visit 15 metropolitan and regional theatres throughout New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia and Victoria.
This tour will take Opera Australia to the towns of Goulburn (NSW) and Cleveland (QLD) for the first time as well as making a welcome return to Cairns, Katherine, Alice Springs, Kalgoorlie and Albany.
Award-winning director Priscilla Jackman has updated the famous barber Figaro with a hipster moustache and a barber shop to match, while leading lady Rosina takes fate into her own hands to win in the game of true love.
The story has been set in the real-life Victorian town of Seville, and the nearby Yarra Valley wine region. This contemporary Australian spin brings fresh energy and vibrancy to one of the world’s most loved operas.
The cast comprises some of Opera Australia’s finest singers and musicians; sopranos Esther Song and Cathy-Di Zhang will reprise their shared the role of Rosina, tenor Shanul Sharma, who recently wowed audiences in his 5 star depiction of Gandhi in Philip Glass’ Satyagraha at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall, will share the role of Count Almaviva with John Longmuir and baritones Christian Haotian Qi and Andrew Williams will share the role of the famous barber, Figaro.
Taking opera out of the major cities and into regional areas remains an imperative part of the company’s annual program says Opera Australia’s CEO Fiona Allan.
“Priscilla Jackman has created a playful new production of The Barber of Seville and the cast features some of our most experienced performers as well as some exciting up and coming stars,” she said.
“Opera Australia remains dedicated to bringing world-class performances to audiences across the nation, aiming to increase access to live performance and to inspire new generations to take the stage through the ongoing Regional Children’s Chorus program,” said Ms Allan.
Opera Australia engages in a variety of workshops and programs with local communities at each place the tour visits, which is an important step in introducing new audiences to the world of opera.
The Regional Children’s Chorus program, under the direction of Children’s Chorus Master Jonathon Bam sees local students join the professional cast in rehearsal and in performance, for what is for many, their first taste of live performance in front of an audience.
Opera Australia began its National Tour in 1996 and over the years it has presented many of the country’s finest singers and musicians to more than 317,500 people in 119 locations across metropolitan and regional Australia.
Conductor: Siro Battaglin | Director: Priscilla Jackman | Featuring: Esther Song, Cathy-Di Zhang, Shanul Sharma, John Longmuir, Christian Haotian Qi, Andrew Williams, Andrew Moran, Michael Lampard, Shane Lowrencev, Steven Gallop, Sarah Sweeting, Dominica Matthews | Children’s Chorus Master: Jonathon Bam | Set Designer: Michael Scott-Mitchell | Costume Designer: Sabina Myers | Lighting Designer: Morgan Moroney | Orchestration: Simon Bruckard
The Barber of Seville plays at Parramatta’s Riverside Theatre (14 & 15 July) before heading to Goulburn, NSW (19 July); Cleveland, QLD (22 July); Rockhampton, QLD (28 July); Mackay, QLD (31 July); Cairns, QLD (5 August); Darwin, NT (9 & 10 August); Katherine, NT (12 August); Tennant Creek, NT (15 August); Alice Springs, NT (17 August); Albany, WA (21 August); Margaret River, WA (23 August); Kalgoorlie, WA (26 August); Geelong, VIC (30 & 31 August) and Wangaratta, VIC (2 September). For more information, visit: www.opera.org.au for details.
Image: The Barber of Seville – courtesy of Opera Australia