Victorian Opera’s English Eccentrics shines a light on opera’s rising stars

Victorian Opera English EccentricsVictorian Opera will present its latest production, English Eccentrics, as part of the ongoing VO Emerges series this July, shining the spotlight on their rising stars as they take to the stage in the lively 1964 chamber opera written by esteemed Australian composer, Malcolm Williamson AO CBE.

Promising a vibrant collision of English wit and Australian larrikinism, English Eccentrics presents a whimsical glimpse into the eccentricities of thirty-nine eccentrics characters from English society.

With a revolving door of aristocrats, tradesmen, maids and clergy, each character’s quirks are laid bare, immersing you in a world that is joyous, heartfelt, and utterly zany.

Directed by artistic director Stuart Maunder, the performance is the third instalment in Victorian Opera’s VO Emerges series – a program launched in 2022 to champion rising stars and foster new talent.

VO Emerges provides a platform for aspiring talents, offering the invaluable chance to contribute to Victorian Opera’s mainstage productions while collaborating closely with industry experts providing learning pathways through mentoring, training, and development.

Building upon the success of past editions, including acclaimed productions Il Mago Di Oz (2022) and Cheremushki (2023), VO Emerges continues to shape the future of the art form with unparalleled dedication and excellence.

English Eccentrics is an opera that showcases Malcolm Williamson’s AO CBE considerable wit and versatility, from joyous choral fox-trots and rhumbas to tender and compassionate anthems,” said Stuart Maunder.

“The opera is a quirky pageant of noteworthy, if odd characters, a ghostly scarecrow-like parade of eccentric figures in the bleak English landscape which contains them.”

Lead performances will feature the talented 2024 Victoria Opera Prize Winners, tenor Douglas Kelly (The Grumpiest Boy in the World; Melbourne, Cheremushki; Capriccio) and soprano Michaela Cadwgan. The production will be further elevated by conductor Susan Collins and complemented by exquisite set and costume design crafted by Louisa Fitzgerald.

“Most of my music is Australian. Not of the bush or the deserts, but the brashness of the cities. The sort of brashness that makes Australians go through life pushing doors marked pull,” said Composer Malcolm Williamson.

Conductor: Susan Collins | Director: Stuart Maunder | Featuring: Michaela Cadwgan, Aliastair Cooper-Golec, Eamon Dooley, Genevieve Droppert, Chloe James, Rachael Joyce, Douglas Kelly, Bailey Montgomerie, Joshua Morton-Galea, Alessia Pintabona, Henry Shaw, Victorian Opera Chamber Orchestra | Set and Costume Designer: Louisa Fitzgerald | Composer: Malcolm Williamson

English Eccentrics
Union Theatre – University of Melbourne, 159 Monash Road, Parkville
Season: 4 – 6 July 2024
Information and Bookings:

Image: Victorian Opera presents English Eccentrics (supplied)