Category: OPERA

Melburnian opera singers dominate the annual Mazda in the Domain, Sydney

Opera Domain 1

Their voices soar so high, you can hear them from Circular Quay. And that’s the way we like it. Sydney’s annual Opera in the Domain has been going strong for 19 years now and doesn’t show any signs of stopping. They say 30k people come to hear some of the world’s most impressive voices belt out tunes up-to 300 years old. It’s quite the spectacle. Overtaking Sydney’s famed Domain public grounds, right next to the Sydney Harbour, singers primarily from Melbourne as well as around the world like mezzo soprano Sian Pendry (Melbourne), soprano Stacey Alleaume (Melbourne), soprano Anna-Louise Cole (Melbourne), tenor Shanul Sharma (Melbourne), tenor Diego Torre (Mexico) and baritone Jose Carbo (Argentina-Australia) performed beautifully, pieces by Puccini, Bizet and Rossini and many more. It even made the first large-scale public presentation of vocal clarity for two young up-and-comers, Anna-Louise Cole and Shanul Sharma, both of whom made their big-stage debut at the Sydney event. Mazda Australia is in its 16th year of sponsoring the Opera in the Domain as their way of enriching Australia’s cultural scene. By giving back to a community that has continued to support them and their business, Mazda is happy to support something quite unique for opera and quite unique to the rest of the world, right here in Australia. “An appreciation for art in its many forms is deeply embedded in Mazda’s DNA. From world class musical spectacles to groundbreaking gallery exhibits, we pledge support to a vast range of art initiatives, to help make these culturally enriching… Read More

4 biggest songs to hear in La Boheme by Opera Australia

You can be a veteran opera-goer or a first-timer, the effect of La Boheme (Puccini) are always the same: complete transfixation. There’s something to be said for the opera’s ability to suck everyone in with the tale of fragility, love and untimely death that draws-out the inner emotion from us all. Puccini was known to have put big stories into the lives of little people with simple tales told well, and the one of his timeless classic, La Boheme, does that all too well. Complete with an international mixing pot of cast this spring-summer season of opera by Opera Australia, that includes the likes of Joyce El-Khoury (Mimi, Maija Kovalevska (2, 4, 9, 11, 21, 23, 31 Jan; 2 Feb–28 Mar)), the Australian production company has turned out another seat-filler of a presentation. Here are the four biggest songs of La Boheme to listen out for in this season’s production… Che gelida manina ‘What an icy little hand’ The first arias of many between protagonists Rodolfo (Ivan Magrì (Jan 3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 17, 19 Jan, and Diego Torre (2, 4, 9, 11, 21, 23, 31 Jan; 2 Feb–28 Mar)) and Mimi, it’s the moment the two characters fall in love as they fumble around for a lost house key. Quando m’en vo When I go along (Musetta’s Waltz) Musetta is Marcello’s occasional girlfriend, who in a club in Paris one night, sings about her apparent irresistibility. She’s stunning, and tries to reclaim the attention of Marcello and kicks her husband out of the bar. Si, mi chiamo Mimi Yes, my name is Mimi Mimi’s song is a feeble one that… Read More

Joyce El-Khoury has joined Opera Australia in 2019 for La Boheme

Mimi sings for Rodolfo in La Boheme

Maria Callas is back! Well… not really, but, she may as well be if any of the articles out there about Canadian-Lebanese soprano, Joyce El-Khoury are anything to go by; she’s one of the most exciting new additions to Opera Australia this spring-summer season of 2019. Opening the season with Puccini’s classic La Boheme, El-Khoury will pick-up the role of Mimi, the innocent little bird who’s swept-up into the drama of the Bohemians in the thick of winter. Joyce headlines the cast of this season’s production, which has fast-proved to be an international explosion of some of the world’s finest singers. In addition to her debut to the Australian opera scene, Latvian soprano Maija Kovalevska will partner with El-Khoury on the role of Mimi, while Italian and Mexican tenors Ivan Magri and Diego Torre will shine in their portrayals of Rodolfo, the poet and male lead. With experience at The Met (NYC), Handa Opera (Sydney Harbour), Royal Opera House Covent Garden (London), The Bolshoi and Teatro Colon (Buenoa Aires) between them all, this production’s cast will leave large shoes to fill. Read more about how Diego Torre did something not many others can. This season’s production comes off the back of last season’s which culminated in a magical production of La Boheme at the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour. Complete with snow and actual cars, the production was one for the memory books, only surely to be met in quality and transcendentalism with the addition of these stunning new international singers. See more and get your tickets… Read More

Free opera is coming to Melbourne with the Mazda Opera in the Bowl

Opera Sidney Myer Music Bowl

With ol’ faithfuls Natalie Aroyan, Sian Pendry, Virgilio Marino and Luke Gabbedy, Opera Australia about to knock Melbourne’s socks off with the annual Mazda Opera in the Bowl, coming this November. On 24 November, Australia’s premiere opera company will take over the Sidney Myer Music Bowl on the fringe of Melbourne’s CBD to fill the city skyline with some tracking tunes from the world’s most beloved productions. Classics from Carmen, Turandot – which is coming back this season – Tosca and The Barber of Seville, you can get in amongst the action for free from 4pm. Here’s the program for the night… BIZET Overture to Carmen ROSSINI ‘Largo al factotum’ from The Barber of Seville BIZET The Flower Song from Carmen SAINT-SAËNS ‘Mon cœur s’ouvre à ta voix’ from Samson and Delilah VERDI ‘Ritorna vincitor’ from Aida BIZET ‘Au fond du temple saint’ from The Pearlfishers Interval ROSSINI Overture to William Tell BIZET Seguidilla from Carmen BIZET The Toreador Song from Carmen PUCCINI Vissi d’arte’ from Tosca MASCAGNI ‘Intermezzo’ from Cavalleria Rusticana DELIBES ‘Dôme épais, le jasmin’ from Lakmé PUCCINI ‘Nessun dorma’ from Turandot See more info at the Opera Australia website.

Summer is getting cold with Opera Australia and the return of Turandot


It’s been a few years since the Chinese princess locked away in her Pagoda tower graced the Sydney stage in Turandot, but she’s back again this summer, and bringing the chill. She’s known for her cold demeanour, ruthlessness and cunning nature – especially toward men – sure to add a bit of frost to Sydney’s revolting humidity right in the thick of the summer months. Opera Australia is bringing back Puccini’s principessa as part of the spring-summer season and it’s sure to be a hit. She’s lauded as one of the ultimate classics in the Opera Australia repertoire. This time around, the production will feature the director’s own famous choreography, sculptural stagecraft and larger than life costumes, this renowned staging of Turandot has transformed this already powerful drama into a spectacular piece of theatre. After stunning audiences with her role debut in Opera Australia’s 2018 digital production of Aida, American powerhouse soprano Amber Wagner makes her triumphant return to Sydney to take on the role of the brutal Turandot. Read more about the last time Opera Australia performed Turandot at the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour here. Turandot is on in Sydney from January 15-29, February 1-27 and March 1-27. Get tickets for the production from Opera Australia.

Opera Australia has released the new set design for West Side Story in March

West Side Story

It’s back again in March and in 2019, the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour by Opera Australia is doing something a little less conventional. They’ll bring the full splendour of New York City to Sydney’s waterfront with a dazzling set design offering a brand new take on one of the 20th century’s most iconic musicals. It’s a far cry from previous years’ Turandot, La Boheme and Carmen, but if it’s by Opera Australia, you know it’ll be great. One of Australia’s most accomplished theatrical designers, Brian Thomson, is shaping a spectacular vision for West Side Story that will invigorate Sydney’s iconic harbour with the spirit of New York, the city that never sleeps. Renowned for creating sets that feature huge iconic objects that encapsulate the story, Thomson’s remarkable set design will be dominated by a giant 15 metre tall highway overpass that will soar 30 metres across the length of the stage, symbolising the gritty underbelly of New York’s urban gang culture. Keep your eyes on the Opera Australia website for more.

What to look forward to this spring from Opera Australia in Melbourne

Opera Rigoletto

As we move into spring in Melbourne, Opera Australia really starts to fire-up, putting on some of the country’s most astonishing opera productions for everyone – free and not! If it’s not the classics like Turandot or The Magic Flute, then you know Opera Australia will put on any combination of other sensational productions to whet your appetite. These four must-see productions are sure to get you going. METAMORPHOSIS (Howard) Opera Australia offers a rare and exciting opportunity to experience a chamber opera in an intimate setting this October when it presents the Melbourne premiere of a new production of Australian composer Brian Howard’s Metamorphosis in an all new location; The Coopers Malthouse, Merlyn Theatre. This opera, directed by Tama Matheson, tells the tale of a broken man turned insect and how he and his family grapple with the riveting and terrifying transformation. Brian Howard’s score is percussive, inventive, courageous, and truly reflects a story of social alienation in a modern, inhumane world. The Coopers Malthouse Merlyn Theatre, 113 Sturt Street, Southbank 25, 26, 27 October 2018 | Tickets $79 LA BOHEME (Puccini) Known as one of the world’s all-time favourite operas, and the inspiration behind Moulin Rouge and the musical Rent, Puccini’s La Bohe?me continues to delight audiences. With its lush sets and costumes, soaring music and a world-class cast, this glittering production, set in the bohemian streets of 1930s Berlin is the perfect showcase for this heartbreaking love story. Returning to the Melbourne stage in November, this lavish production brings Puccini’s classic to life in a… Read More

Paolo Bordogna in The Turk in Italy by Opera Australia will make you actually laugh

Paolo Bordogna in The Turk in Italy

So, if there’s one thing you notice about operas that some of the world’s best opera companies like Opera Australia produce, is that a lot of them are really sad. Like, really sad. Everyone dies, there’s lots of heartache and you leave wanting more, but feeling sad about it. In an insatiably excellent way. It’s one doozie of an emotional rollercoaster. But from time-to-time, you come across comedic productions that turn all that around for the better part of two hours, transforming the stage of Joan Sutherland Theatre in the Sydney Opera House into a source of laughs, brought-about by a cast lead by – fastly-becoming favourite – singers, Paolo Bordogna and Melburnian diva, Stacey Alleaume. The latest production by Opera Australia, The Turk in Italy (on until 1 September 2018) is just that and so much more. With new import, Bodogna, alongside the likes of Alleaume, Virgilio Marino (who plays Narciso) and Warwick Fyfe (Geronio), the cast, choir and conductor Andrea Molino do a stupendous job in bringing a 50s-themed tale of sexual tension, debauchery and mischievousness to light for the laugh-out-loud enjoyment of the audience. It’s basically a tale of a bored housewife, a sycophantic husband, a sexy Turkish visitor, a nymphomaniacal gypsy and a poet who’s just after a good storyline, all of whom culminate in a comedic explosion that really does wonders to punctuate the winter season for the opera company. We spoke with Bordogna, the Italian tenor, who admits though it’s a funny production, there’s a hell of a lot of finesse… Read More

Looking into the future: How Aida is changing the game for Opera Australia

Opera Australia Aida king

Going up against the traditionalist lovers of classic opera is no easy thing. You have to be one ballsy creative with a great vision and a lot of grunt. Good thing that the artistic director of Opera Australia, Lyndon Terracini is just that and has taken this month’s production of renowned opera Aida as the first stepping stone on the way to the future for the Australian opera company. Aida is the story of the enslaved Ethiopian princess in Egypt, who’s got a thing for a guy called Ramades. Ramades is sent off to conquer her homeland of Ethiopia and he returns with her Dad – the King – as a slave. Ramades is then given the Egyptian princess’ hand in marriage, but he doesn’t want it, so the two meet-up for one last hurrah on the banks of the Nile before it all comes crashing down. It’s a dramatic love story that, if any other productions of it around the world would indicate – is one hell of an effort by the costume and set design team, let alone the director and singers themselves. Just look at the production on Coolangatta beach by Opera Australia in 2017. But in 2018, Opera Australia is doing something different for now and for the future, working with a unique set, incredible cast and costumes and the world-class, ‘knee-weakeningly’ incredible voices of the singers – as per usual – and a production that is as much appealing to the younger generations of screen-addicted millennials as it is for the… Read More

Death, music and an ugly clown: Rigoletto by Opera Australia is a must-see

If there’s one thing you learn fast about any opera, is that a lot of them are sad and most of the time, people – if not everyone – die. So it’s no surprise that the tale of Rigoletto, brought to life this winter season in Sydney by Opera Australia – on until 24 August – tells the tale as old as time, but this time, with all the spit ‘n’ polish, the likes only the Australian opera company can produce. Though, stunning oscillating set and world-class costumery aside, it doesn’t detract from the fact that the loss for Rigoletto in the climax is the saddest of many deaths in reproduced operas of late; because it’s all his fault. With director, Elijah Moshinsky behind the wheel of this season’s production, the production by Opera Australia is every bit as unique as the hit aria of the libretto, La Donna e Mobile, which you’d’ve heard before… Dalibor Jenis takes-on the role of the hideous, clowny, much disliked Rigoletto, turning his renowned performances as the likes of Figaro into an award-winning on-stage display. As he encapsulates the role of the overprotective father who pisses a few people off as he goes through life, little does he realise the fate that awaits him – disproportionately driven by his own hand, by today’s standards – with the death of his daughter. The whole thing is really idyllically represented through the music of Verdi, who even at the time, knew he had a hit on his hands. First fury, then despair, then… Read More