Category: OPERA

World’s greatest tenor Jonas Kaufmann returns to Sydney

Jonas Kaufmann

Renowned as the “world’s greatest living tenor,” Jonas Kaufmann, is set to dazzle audiences with an ensemble of globally acclaimed opera singers in two exclusive performances of Ponchielli’s La Gioconda. These performances, scheduled for August 9 and 12, are part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the iconic Sydney Opera House. In what is a significant achievement for Opera Australia, the celebrated German tenor will be making his role debut as Enzo Grimaldo. This marks his first performance in Sydney since 2019. Accompanying Kaufmann in this grand spectacle is the Spanish soprano sensation, Saioa Hernández, who will be making her debut at the Sydney Opera House. She’ll be performing in the eponymous role of Gioconda. Hernández, winner of the Best Soprano of the Year at the 2021 Oscar della Lirica competition by the Spanish Opera National Association, has been lauded as ‘the diva of our century’ by the legendary Montserrat Caballé. Adding to the pool of talent is Australia’s very own Deborah Humble, the successful mezzo-soprano, who will be pausing her international assignments to perform with Opera Australia after a decade. Joining them will be the esteemed French baritone Ludovic Tézier, who will be reuniting with Kaufmann to play the role of Barnaba, the vengeful; Agnieszka Rehlis, the Polish mezzo-soprano currently making her Australian debut in Aida, will play Laura Badoero; and bass Vitalij Kowaljow from Ukraine will play Alvise Badoero, returning after his lauded performance in OA’s 2021 production of Ernani. Guiding the Opera Australia Orchestra and Chorus will be the eminent conductor Pinchas… Read More

Opera Australia hits the road with razor sharp production of The Barber of Seville

Barber of Seville feature

Opera Australia is taking one of the most beloved operas of all time, The Barber of Seville, on tour once again for the 27th annual National Tour. This year’s production, directed by award-winning director Priscilla Jackman, boasts a fresh new take on the classic masterpiece, featuring updated characters and set in the Victorian town of Seville and the nearby Yarra Valley wine region. The cast is composed of some of Opera Australia’s finest musicians and singers, including the talented sopranos Esther Song and Cathy-Di Zhang who will share the role of Rosina, and tenor Shanul Sharma, who recently dazzled audiences as Gandhi in Philip Glass’ Satyagraha at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall. Christian Haotian Qi and Andrew Williams will share the iconic role of Figaro, The Barber of Seville. The two-month tour will travel over 14,000 kilometres across five states and territories, visiting 15 metropolitan and regional theatres in New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia, and Victoria. For the first time, the tour will visit the towns of Goulburn (NSW) and Cleveland (QLD), while making a welcome return to Cairns, Katherine, Alice Springs, Kalgoorlie, and Albany. Opera Australia continues its commitment to take opera out of major cities and into regional areas, with Fiona Allan, CEO of Opera Australia, stating that this is an essential part of the company’s annual program. The Regional Children’s Chorus program, under the direction of Children’s Chorus Master Jonathon Bam, is one of the many outreach programs that Opera Australia engages in with local communities at each location the tour… Read More

What to expect from the new season by Opera Australia

Opera Australia promo

Mark your calendars for Opera Australia’s much-awaited 2024 Sydney Summer Season, brought to you by the talented guest Creative Director Lindy Hume. Get ready to experience five Sydney Opera House premieres that will leave you awestruck! This season will showcase the virtuosity of Australian talent both on and off the stage, featuring a premier selection of international guest artists. Opera Australia celebrates the potency of opera in contemporary storytelling through this carefully curated selection of operas. Inspired by the European Enlightenment Era, this season features four operas written in the 18th century. Lindy Hume, the mastermind behind this program, says the season is filled with extraordinary music, deep contemplation, and brimming with optimism for the future. With an emphasis on collaboration, this season includes milestone partnerships with Victorian Opera, Pinchgut Opera, Circa, and Opera Queensland, plus a welcome return to the Sydney Festival program. This celebratory season captures how versatile and dynamic the artform can be. Opera Australia’s CEO, Fiona Allan, explained that Lindy Hume was the perfect choice to create an interim Sydney Summer program for OA. Her season is tremendously refreshing, filled with exciting works showcasing a great breadth of artistic talent from all across Australia and around the world. Audiences will be presented with some of Australia’s brightest local and returning talent, including directors Sarah Giles and Yaron Lifschitz, conductor Jessica Cottis, and singers Samantha Clarke, Caitlin Hulcup, Michael Smallwood, Helen Sherman, and New Zealand baritone Phillip Rhodes. Join us for the debut of Kate Gaul’s fantastical and eclectic new production of… Read More

Verdi’s Rigoletto is back at Sydney Opera House

Rigoletto clown man

Opera Australia is proud to present Verdi’s beloved opera, Rigoletto, at the Joan Sutherland Theatre from June 13-26, 2023. Regarded by the composer himself as his finest work, Rigoletto features captivating melodies, a gripping plot, and complex characters that explore themes that remain relevant today. The story follows a tale of love and revenge, examining the corrupt nature of power and wealth within society. Verdi’s score includes some of the most renowned operatic tunes, such as “La donna è mobile” and “Bella figlia dell’ amore”, which have achieved worldwide recognition, appearing in popular culture from pasta adverts to blockbuster movies. Leading the cast is rising Italian baritone, Ernesto Petti, making his Australian and role debut as the vengeful Rigoletto, alongside Australian soprano Stacey Alleaume, who will sing the role of Gilda. Brazilian tenor Atalla Ayan will reprise his role as the Duke of Mantua, while Roberto Scandiuzzi, one of the world’s most prominent basses, will portray the ruthless Sparafucile, as well as performing in Aida this winter. Renowned Italian maestro Renato Palumbo will conduct the Opera Australia Orchestra, and Elijah Moshinsky’s glamorous production is inspired by Fellini’s La Dolce Vita, featuring a revolving two-storey dollhouse set, 1950s-inspired costumes, and a charming Fiat 500. Rigoletto is one of Opera Australia’s most popular and enduring productions, featuring magnificent sets, exciting performances, and Verdi’s sensational score that continues to captivate audiences.

Opera Australia puts on Miss Saigon in Melbourne

Miss Saigon soldiers

Opera Australia has announced that the acclaimed new production of Boublil and Schönberg’s musical Miss Saigon will be playing at Melbourne’s Her Majesty’s Theatre from October 29th for a limited season. The Australian cast will be led by Seann Miley Moore as the Engineer, Abigail Adriano as Kim, Nigel Huckle as Chris, Kerrie Anne Greenland as Ellen, Nick Afoa as John, Laurence Mossman as Thuy, and Kimberley Hodgson as Gigi. Tickets for the Melbourne season go on sale Tuesday 6 June, with priority booking available to those who sign up to the waitlist at Miss Saigon is a story of love and loss set in war-torn Vietnam, following the story of a young Vietnamese woman named Kim who falls in love with an American G.I. named Chris, but their love is ripped apart by the fall of Saigon. Created by the same minds behind Les Misérables, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg, Miss Saigon has been seen by 38 million people worldwide, performed in 15 different languages, in over 32 countries and 350 cities, and has won 70 major theatre awards including two Olivier Awards, three Tony Awards, and four Drama Desk Awards. The musical features an unforgettable score including classic hits like ‘The Heat is On in Saigon,’ ‘The Movie in My Mind,’ ‘Last Night of the World,’ and ‘American Dream.’ The new production of Miss Saigon, which opened in London in May 2014, was directed by Laurence Connor with musical staging by Bob Avian and additional choreography by Geoffrey Garratt. The production design… Read More

An opera about Mahatma Ghandi for one night only this May: Satyagraha

Man flame head opera

Opera Australia is set to give its premiere performance of Philip Glass’ Satyagraha, a hypnotic masterpiece featuring minimalist compositions, at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall on Saturday, May 13. The operatic depiction of Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent protest in South Africa during his early years, performed in its original Sanskrit language, presents a challenging role for Indian-born tenor Shanul Sharma. Sharma, who started off as a heavy metal vocalist, will portray Gandhi for the first time in his career, becoming the first Indian-born Australian to perform as a principal artist in Opera Australia. Opera Australia regular, Australian soprano Rachelle Durkin who was previously appointed for the role of Mrs Schlesen with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, is set to play the same role here. The Opera Australia Chorus will perform the substantial four-part chorus and Opera Australia’s Head of Music, Tahu Matheson, will lead Orchestra Victoria sans brass or percussion instruments. It’s directed by Andy Morton and features a talented cast of Opera Australia principals, including Andrew Moran, Richard Anderson, Sian Sharp, and Alexander Sefton and you know will be an incredible experience. For more and tickets head to the Opera Australia website

See legendary Bass Feruccio Furlanetto perform at Sydney Recital Hall

Feruccio Furlanetto singer bass opera

Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto, known for his magnificent vocal skills and spellbinding stage presence, the likes of which we see a lot of in his performances with Opera Australia, is set to perform a solo recital at the City Recital Hall in Sydney on 27 April. This musical prodigy has been heralded as one of the greatest voices of his generation and is renowned for his vast range, thundering vocal power and masterful acting. The audience can expect a thrilling showcase of Furlanetto’s illustrious career, which spans almost five decades. His previous recital performances in Australia received five-star reviews, and the new program he has devised for this season will be an itinerary of his life in music. The show will include splendid compositions from Brahms, Mussorgsky and Rachmaninov, as well as beloved bass arias from some of the operatic world’s most famous and enduring works such as The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Boris Godunov and Don Carlos. Award-winning pianist Natalia Sidorenko would accompany Furlanetto on stage, making her debut in Australia. Together they will bring to life a night of superb musical virtuosity that is sure to be an unforgettable experience. The audience can look forward to a fusion of the talents of two brilliant artists, the incomparable Furlanetto with his powerful, booming voice and the virtuosity of Sidorenko’s piano playing. This event is a must-see for all music lovers, whether they are fans of opera or classical music. The concert hall’s excellent acoustics will be the perfect setting to hear Furlanetto’s resonant… Read More

What to look forward to in Madama Butterfly on Sydney Harbour this season

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There are so many reasons you need to meet the Madama herself. For first-timers, she’s approachable; for singers, she’s versatile and for veterans of Opera Australia’s productions, she’s an emotional rollercoaster that tells a story that never gets old. This year as part of Opera Australia’s Handa Opera on the Harbour, made up of it’s gigantic flotilla stage literally on the water with the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge as back drop, the Madama takes to the stage again. Having recently opened in Sydney for the season, Karah Son and Diego Torre, two of Opera Australia’s favourites, took to the stage to reprise their roles as Cio-Cio-San and Pinkerton respectively. They’re also joined by award-winning Korean Australian soprano Eva Kong. They are also joined on stage by an all-star Australian cast and the Opera Australia Orchestra under the watchful eye of Maestro Brian Castles-Onion who has conducted every opera production since the inaugural season in 2012.  The set is an icon in itself, too, featuring a nature-come-urban feel you need to see in person. Highlights to look out for: Opera Australia’s Madama Butterfly is on until the 23rd of April 2023 get tickets at the Opera Australia website.

Why you shouldn’t miss La Boheme according to its stars

The cafe in La Boheme by Opera Australia

In celebration of the Sydney Opera House‘s 50th birthday this year, Opera Australia, its resident opera and performing arts company, is putting on one heck of a line-up. With the renowned and favourite La Boheme currently on stage until THIS weekend, 11 March, your chance to see it for the season is almost up! It’s a moving story of love gained, shaken and then lost forever, written by famed Italian composer – who wrote quite accessible operas for those who are new to the whole experience – Giacomo Puccini. It’s even got those two renowned arias placed strategically back-to-back in the first act of the performance, that do their job in honing you in and driving you (or maybe just me?) to tears every time. They are: Che gelida manina and Si mi chiamano Mimi. They highlight the very moment Rodolfo and Mimi fall in love and do the best job at positioning Mimi as a delicate flower of a woman, who Rodolfo can’t but help being totally taken with immediately. Have a listen here: You can check out our other thoughts and reviews on the La Boheme production here. To find out why La Boheme is so good and such a must-see, we spoke to the latest lead singers, Atalla Ayan and Rebecca Gulinello who play Rodolfo and Mimi, the main lovers’ storyline, through the production. “Singing La Boheme taught me something beautiful about life: The passion and the joy of living every moment, every second as the last one of your existence. Living for the… Read More

First time opera; first time opera singer – Rebecca Gulinello tell us about La Boheme in Sydney

The cafe in La Boheme by Opera Australia

Whether you’re an opera aficionado, or after a new experience for the first time, there’s one thing you can be sure of – you’re not alone! People from all walks of life with all kinds of musical tastes gather on a nightly basis at the world famous Sydney Opera House – which is turning 50 this year! – to see operas by the world-renowned Opera Australia company, which this season is putting on La Boheme and giving even its singers a unique first experience! New singer Rebecca Gulinello is making one of her preliminary performances in the production, taking to the stage after she only took to her first stage performance this January! We got to speak with the highly talented, new singer about her performance as Mimi in La Boheme. Here’s how it went. How excited are you to be playing Mimi this season? To be taking on this role for me is a great responsibility because this stage is my home base. Sydney Opera House is iconic and one of the most coveted stages any singer in the world wants the privilege of being able to sing on. It is where other greats have sung before me and all my incredible colleagues in the company currently perform. To believe in my own greatness and to trust in my voice, my hard work and efforts towards this debut has been the most challenging. The mindset of a singer is also similar to that of a professional athlete. You must maintain a sense of rigour, routine, mental… Read More