World’s best re-imagine opera for a unique festival in Victoria’s Yarra Valley

AAR Yarra Valley Opera Festival - Gertrude Opera Nikolai EndegorHosted in Victoria’s charming wine region this October, the Yarra Valley Opera Festival brings together acclaimed directors, costume designers and composers, forging new collaborations across three classic and re-imagined operas.

Oscar-winning costume designer Tim Chappel will team up with international director Gale Edwards AM in the Australian premiere of The Enchanted Pig – a bizarre and heartwarming fairy-tale of perilous betrothment.

“Chappel led the iconic costume design for The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and seemed a natural fit for this rather surreal production,” said Linda Thompson, the festival’s founder and Artistic Director. “As a multi award-winning director, Edwards brings decades of  experience  infusing classical works with fantasy and humour.”

Diverging from the family-friendly nature of The Enchanted Pig, Edwards also directs the ‘adults only’ production of Poppea. In this new take on Monteverdi’s hedonist classic, Edwards sharpens the original themes of power, sex, tragedy and brutality into two hours of intense drama.

Hailing from further afield, “feisty as hell” New York-based company Monk Parrots were engaged by Thompson to co-produce a contemporary take on Giuseppe Verdi’s Macbeth. With two-time Grammy nominated bass-baritone John Marcus Bindel in the lead role, a delusional and relentlessly ambitious Macbeth colludes with his foreign-born third wife to rise through the ranks of power, holding a mirror to world politics.

Re-scored by Peter Stopschinski with lashings of electric guitar, Leonard says the Shakespearean classic has evolved into something that feels entirely new and cutting-edge. “Forget what you know about Macbeth and watch with a beginner’s mind,” said Leonard.

The inaugural Yarra Valley Opera Festival was held in 2018, presented by multi award-winning Gertrude Opera. The first of its kind in Australia, the festival hosted scores of people at the 250-seat pop-up theatre at Olinda Yarra, just 50 minutes from Melbourne.

Australia’s only international opera festival runs from 18 – 27 October at Olinda Yarra, Yering. Tickets are now available. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: courtesy of Gertrude Opera / Nikolai Endegor