ABR Arts Opera

Roberto Devereux (Melbourne Opera) ★★★★1/2

Rob Holdsworth
Monday, 13 November 2017

Melbourne Opera’s latest production is Gaetano Donizetti’s 1837 lyric tragedy Roberto Devereux, the last in his so-called Tudor trilogy. The company staged Mary Stuart in 2015 and Anna Bolena in 2016, to considerable acclaim. However, this airing of Robert Devereux, an Australian première, is something else. Put simply ...

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Lucia di Lammermoor (WA Opera) ★★★1/2

Rosalind Appleby
Tuesday, 31 October 2017

When John Copley’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor is remounted, it often comes with the marketing phrase ‘a piece of Australian operatic history’. The production was created for Joan Sutherland in 1980, giving Australian audiences a second opportunity to see her in the role that caused a sensation she first ...

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Norma (Metropolitan Opera) ★★

Ian Dickson
Monday, 16 October 2017

Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma elicits the ultimate rose-tinted nostalgia in ageing opera aficionados. Operagoers of my generation wax lyrical about Joan Sutherland and Montserrat Caballé in their prime, while making disparaging remarks about present singers. We in turn were bored by ancients who admitted that La Callas ...

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Some singers – a gifted few – have voices that are so sumptuously individual that even one note instantly identifies them to the listener. In opera, Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti have that status, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in lieder, Elvis Presley and Louis Armstrong in rock and jazz. But none more so than Maria Callas ...

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La Bohème and Die Zauberflöte (Royal Opera House) ★★★★1/2

Alastair Jackson
Wednesday, 20 September 2017

September has seen the premières of two much-loved operas at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. A new production of Puccini’s La Bohème and a revival of the David McVicar production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute). Both works featured in their leading female roles two of Australia’s most promising and ...

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Thaïs (MSO) ★★★★

Peter Rose
Monday, 28 August 2017

Equally welcome was the second opportunity to hear Massenet’s opera Thaïs (1894) within a matter of weeks. Once again it was a concert version – a ‘mid-season gala’ from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. ABR Arts wrote about Opera Australia’s recent concerts in the Sydney Town Hall ...

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The Rape of Lucretia is the most problematic of Benjamin Britten’s operas. Recent productions of Gloriana, the opera Britten wrote to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, have proved that its notoriously unsuccessful première in 1953 had more to do with an uncomprehending audience ...

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Parsifal (Opera Australia) ★★★★★

Christopher Menz
Friday, 11 August 2017

Of all Richard Wagner’s operatic works, it is Parsifal that divides audiences most. As with the Ring, its ambiguity lends itself to multiple interpretations. The music has been praised and admired by the greatest of critics and musicians, including those who heard it when it was ...

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Thaïs (Opera Australia) ★★★★1/2

Peter Rose
Monday, 24 July 2017

Few singers make riveting autobiographers, it must be said, but one who should have penned her memoirs was Sybil Sanderson (1864–1903). She seems to have been too busy, on and off the stage. Hers was the kind of short, turbulent life that Puccini might have done something with ...

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Cunning Little Vixen (Victorian Opera) ★★★1/2

Alastair Jackson
Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Leoš Janáček was more than sixty years old when his operas finally began to attract attention. After the much delayed success of Jenůfa (1904), he went on to produce another four major works on which his operatic reputation became established. They included ...

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