The anticipation was palpable as Opera Australia announced its 2013 season in the opera theatre of the Sydney Opera House today.
Glittering in more ways than one, Taryn Fiebig and the ensemble whetted appetites with a larger than life rendition of Quando m’en vo from the video of the 2010 production of La Boheme, projected onto a giant screen above the stage. Making a rare and much appreciated appearance above the pit, the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra conducted variously by Brian Castles-Onion, Richard Mills and Andrew Greene performed throughout the launch, with some of the principal artists from the 2013 season, amongst them Jose Carbo (Count Anckarström), Warwick Fyfe (Falstaff), Milijana Nikolic (Azucena), Shane Lowrencev (The Ring Cycle) and Teddy Tahu Rhodes (Emile).
Celebrating the birth bi-centenary of Verdi, there are 5 of his works on offer – Un ballo in Maschera – a world premiere co-production with the opera houses of Brussels, Buenos Aires and Oslo – Il Trovatore, La Traviata, La forza del destino and Falstaff. Add to that Albert Herring, acknowledging the birth centenary of Britten, Gale Edward’s Berlin cabaret inspired production of Puccini’s La Boheme, new productions of Tosca (with Takesha Meshe Kizart and Cheryl Barker sharing the title role) and Don Pasquale, and a Jonathan Biggins production of Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld, there’s an appealing year long programme.
New Year’s Eve sees the demise of the gala variety concert, replaced by the opening of Boheme, which also takes the stage for Opera in the Domain. There’s even a return season of South Pacific in September. Standing apart from the subscription series is Handa Opera on the Harbour, which for 2013 will be Bizet’s Carmen.
What’s missing in Sydney is the celebration of the sesquicentenary of Wagner’s birth – Melbourne won that event. Tickets are already sold out. As well, it will be a year sans Classical and Baroque repertoire.
Returning to Sydney will be conductors Christian Badea (Die Tote Stadt in 2012), Anthony Walker and Andrea Licata. Taking the podium as well, Arvo Vollmer, Andrew Greene, Anthony Legge and Patrick Lange. Look forward to hearing the voices of Jonathan Summers and John Wegner, Rachelle Durkin and Emma Mathhews, Diego Torre, Daria Masiero, Amelia Farrugia, Jacqueline Dark and Nicole Car in her debut as Mimi.
Subscriptions open at www.opera-australia.org.au