Dubbed the Queen of Bel Canto singing by European critics, celebrated Australian operatic export Jessica Pratt returns home for one performance only in Victorian Opera’s I Puritani at Hamer Hall on Thursday 2 July.
The coloratura soprano, renowned for her likeness and a career trajectory similar to the legendary Dame Joan Sutherland, was lauded as a “prima donna assoluta (absolute first lady” (Limelight) with a voice of “liquid gold” (Theatre People) following her Australian stage debut in Victorian Opera’s 2014 production of La traviata.
Pratt will reprise the role of Elvira in Bellini’s masterpiece I Puritani, a role that has further cemented her position as one of the most in-demand performers in Europe. Revered by critics for her 2014 performance in Florence, Pratt’s “virtuosic pyrotechnics completely won over the house” (Totalita.it) and “was applauded repeatedly, including in the middle of her scenes, her voice luminous, robust, and of impeccable technique” (FirenzePost).
Appearing opposite Pratt in his Australian debut, is Spanish tenor Celso Abelo. Considered one of the world’s most talented tenors, Abelo received the Teatro Campoamor National Prize for Opera, one of Spain’s highest honours, in 2010 for his performance in I Puritani.
The 180-year-old opera is considered a ‘tight-rope walk’ of bel canto singing given the incredibly complex vocal demands required of its performers. Set during the 1640s, I Puritani tells the story of the English civil war between the Royalists faithful to the monarchy and the ‘divine right of kings’, and the Puritans who supported Parliamentary administration.
As victory draws near for the Puritan forces, Elvira (Pratt) falls in love with the Royalist, Arturo (Albelo). However, on the day of their wedding Arturo is faced with the choice to save his queen, or marry the woman he loves.
The opera was Bellini’s (La sonnambula, I Capuleti e i Montecchi) last work before his death in 1835. After Victorian Opera’s sell-out concert performance of Bellini’s Norma in 2014, audiences are encouraged to book now to avoid missing out!
Hamer Hall – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Performance: Thursday 2 July – 7.30pm
Bookings: 1300 182 183 or online at: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au
For more information, visit: www.victorianopera.com.au for details.
Image: Jessica Pratt – photo by Luis Condro