ABR Arts Opera

Karl V (Bayerische Staatsoper) ★★★★

Peter Tregear
Friday, 15 February 2019

The corpulent form of Henry VIII understandably dominates our own historical imagining of the turbulent first half of the sixteenth century. From the perspective of continental Europe, however, other figures loom just as large. Indeed, even the English Reformation has the actions of another monarch at its epicentre ...

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The Flying Dutchman (Melbourne Opera) ★★★1/2

Barney Zwartz
Monday, 04 February 2019

It is easy to overlook – this side of The Ring and Tristan und Isolde – quite how radical Wagner’s first distinctly Wagnerian opera, The Flying Dutchman, really was. Written in Paris, where grand opera was utterly dominant, the opera broke with the form, style, and subject matter of grand opera and introduced Wagner’s own concepts ...

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Les Troyens (Opéra National de Paris) ★★★★

Christopher Menz
Monday, 04 February 2019

This year is huge for the Opéra National de Paris. It celebrates the 350th anniversary of the founding of Académie Royale de Musique in 1669, the thirtieth anniversary of the inauguration of the Opéra Bastille in 1989, and the 150th anniversary of the death of Hector Berlioz. Les Troyens (The Trojans) opened the ...

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Wozzeck (Opera Australia) ★★★★

Michael Halliwell
Tuesday, 29 January 2019

It is often observed that we live in an age of ‘directors’ opera’, where the name of the director precedes the name of the opera, never mind the composer. Yet there remain relatively few directors who have become indelibly associated with a particular visual style. South African William Kentridge is one ...

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Artaserse (Pinchgut Opera) ★★★★

Michael Halliwell
Friday, 30 November 2018

Géraud Corbiau’s rather schlocky biopic, Farinelli (1994) covers an important phase in the career of this most celebrated singer of the early eighteenth century. The establishment of the Opera of the Nobility in the 1730s, with Niccolò Porpora as the main composer, was a direct challenge to Handel’s ...

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Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Opera Australia) ★★★★

Michael Shmith
Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Let it be said – indeed proclaimed – that Opera Australia’s new production of Wagner’s paean to life and art and love is musically as close to a triumph as it could have been. If, by the end, you feel the outside world is a better place than the one you temporarily abandoned six hours earlier, then Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg has surely wrought ...

Otello (Melbourne Opera) ★★★★

Elizabeth Kertesz
Friday, 19 October 2018

More than two centuries after its first performance, Gioacchino Rossini’s Otello (1816) has finally been staged for Australian audiences thanks to the inspired selection of director Bruce Beresford and the enterprise of Melbourne Opera. But beware, if you come to the theatre expecting a ...

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Metamorphosis (Opera Australia) ★★★★

Michael Halliwell
Thursday, 27 September 2018

'When Gregor Samsa woke up one morning from unsettling dreams, he found himself changed in his bed into a monstrous vermin.’ It issurely one of the most celebrated, and arresting, opening lines in all literature – very ‘Kafkaesque’, in fact! It was just a matter of time before The Metamorphosis ...

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Peter Grimes (Brisbane Festival) ★★★★1/2

Gillian Wills
Monday, 24 September 2018

Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes – first performed in 1945 (Sadler’s Wells, London) – is an opera about an oddball misanthropic fisherman. On opening night, the audience were primed to engage with Britten’s anti-hero, never suspecting that a real-life hero would soon be needed ...

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Evita (Opera Australia) ★★★

Peter Tregear
Wednesday, 19 September 2018

I confess that I do not share the knee-jerk negative view of Andrew Lloyd Weber musicals that many of my colleagues profess. His best works, especially those conceived with librettist Tim Rice, stake a legitimate claim on our attention, if only for their consummate skill in identifying ...

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