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Opera

The Visitors 

Victorian Opera
by
24 October 2023

The birth of a new opera is always exciting. Unlike a play or a sonata, an opera brings together a variety of art forms, with performers and creatives drawn from many different backgrounds. The libretto of Christopher Sainsbury’s The Visitors draws on a new, more gender-balanced version of an existing play, Jane Harrison’s The Visitors (2020), currently running in Sydney and Wollongong.

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The Makropulos Case 

Opéra National de Paris
by
10 October 2023
A week in Paris (Billy Strayhorn’s moody panacea) gave ABR Arts a perfect opportunity to savour some of the city’s abundant musical life. We’ll start with an important revival at the Opéra National de Paris, performed at the Bastille. ... (read more)

Earth. Voice. Body 

Sydney Chamber Opera
by
02 October 2023
French philosopher and literary critic, Catherine Clément, in her influential and, for some, highly controversial book, L’Opéra ou la Défaite des femmes (Opera, or the Undoing of Women) (1979, trans. 1986), explores many examples throughout the history of the operatic form where the major female characters are inevitably the victims, often dying to the strains of beautiful music. ... (read more)

Das Rheingold 

Royal Opera House
by
25 September 2023

Wagnerians are like elephants: they never forget. Though the Royal Opera House may have become less conscientious about printing performance histories in its handsome red-covered programs, for many the memories of past Ring cycles at Covent Garden live on. That may not always be a healthy thing – there are of course few more necrophiliac artforms than opera – but it’s impossible to view the opening of Barrie Kosky’s new Ring in isolation.

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Biographica 

Lyric Opera
by
25 September 2023

Biographica, an opera in twelve scenes for one actor, five singers, and eleven musicians, was premièred to considerable acclaim by Sydney Chamber Opera at Carriageworks as part of the 2017 Sydney Festival. The creative team of composer Mary Finsterer and librettist Tom Wright subsequently had another success there with Antarctica as part of the Sydney Festival 2023; Finsterer and Wright can now be considered two of the most important creative voices working in Australian opera today.

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Maria Stuarda 

Melbourne Opera
by
15 September 2023

The fecundity of Gaetano Donizetti in the 1830s – when he was in his thirties – was exceptional, even during those rampant years for Italian opera. His successes were frequent: Anna Bolena (1830), L’elisir d’amore (1832), Lucrezia Borgia (1833), Maria Stuarda (1834), and Lucia di Lammermoor (1835), perhaps his finest achievement. Donizetti, who wrote about seventy operas in all before his mental collapse in 1846, was the nimblest of composers. Between L’elisir and Lucrezia, for instance, came four operas, all rarities today.

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Macbeth 

State Opera South Australia
by
08 September 2023

During his five years as artistic director of State Opera South Australia, Stuart Maunder steered the company out of bleak times to some moments of genuine glory with a number of theatrically strong if mostly smaller productions. Among them, Sweeney Todd and Turn of the Screw stood out for their psychological realism, but he will also be remembered for having revived Richard Meale’s Voss in a highly successful semi-staged version in 2022.

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La Gioconda 

Opera Australia
by
11 August 2023

Amilcare Ponchielli (1834–86) wrote ten operas, but only one of them is still performed – La Gioconda – and few attending Opera Australia’s concert performances in Sydney will have heard it often.

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The Tales of Hoffmann 

Opera Australia
by
13 July 2023

Whether apocryphal or not, this anecdote tells us a lot about Offenbach and how he was perceived as the epitome of French wit and insouciance, reflected in his many popular operettas. Naturally, his story is far more complex than this glib description, and some of the complexity of his life as an outsider, being both German and Jewish, living in Paris, is mirrored in his final, and many would maintain, his greatest opera.

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Idomeneo 

Victorian Opera and Opera Australia
by
07 July 2023

Inspired by everything he had learned and seen at the Mannheim Court in 1777–78, Mozart, aged twenty-four, was primed when he received a commission to write an opera for the 1781 Munich carnival. His years in Mannheim had been formative, exposed as he was to Elector Carl Theodor’s court, which rivalled that of Frederick II, king of Prussia, in discrimination and cultivation.

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