This week it is the turn of Opera Australia to unveil the programme for its 60th year. It is a rich and varied programme with several new commissions alongside traditional opera – there are Australian works, two operas by Verdi and two by Bizet. A new McVicar production of Cosi fan tutte completes Sir David’s Mozart-da Ponte trilogy for the company; Turandot will be performed on the harbour and the summer’s traditional fare of La Boheme and Julie Taymor’s The Magic Flute return to the stage.
Perhaps the most exciting offerings for opera lovers are Prokofiev’s Love for Three Oranges and Verdi’s Luisa Miller and Simon Boccanegra (last performed in the Olympic year, 2000). The Love for Three Oranges, features a cast of Australian singers directed by Francesca Zambello. It will be sung in English, rather than the original French, translated by seasoned playwright Tom Stoppard.
The two leviathans from the Verdi repertoire, both feature Verdi specialist Diego Torre whom we have seen excel in other Verdi productions like Un ballo in maschera and Don Carlo. Joining him in ‘Boccanegra’ are Italian superstar soprano Barbara Frittoli, Romanian baritone George Petean and Italian bass Giacomo Prestia. Australian soprano Nicole Car makes her role debut as Luisa Miller, joined by other Antipodeans Sian Pendry and Daniel Sumegi in the major roles.
The only two operas that Bizet wrote are both on the bill for 2016. What a pity he didn’t write more as they are both replete with luscious melodies. Carmen is sung by French mezzo-soprano Clémentine Margaine, a role she has performed for Deutsche Oper Berlin, in Munich and in Montreal, succeeded by Milijana Nikolic; Yonghoon Lee who recently dazzled as Calaf and before that as Cavaradossi, will sing Don Jose, while Michael Honeyman and Shane Lowrencev share the role of Escamillo with Natalie Aroyan and Stacey Alleaume as Micaela, in a John Bell production.
Michael Gow presents a new production of Bizet’s The Pearlfishers, and the delightful Moshinsky production of the Barber of Seville returns with popular buffo baritone Paolo Bordogna in his third season in Sydney as Figaro.
Celebrating the company’s 60th anniversary, Sydney’s iconic Opera House itself becomes the backdrop for a performance of the eponymous Sydney Opera House – The Opera by Alan John and Dennis Watkins (previously performed as The Eight Wonder), on the steps of the famous building. The innovative and successful Miller-Heidke, Katz, Grandage production of The Rabbits comes to Sydney; and Dame Julie Andrews will direct Lerner and Loewe’s evergreen classic My Fair Lady (cast yet to be announced).
…….and don’t forget there’s the second presentation of the Ring Cycle in Melbourne in October.
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