Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

Opera

Awakening Shadow 

Sydney Chamber Opera
by
03 October 2022

Understandably, the focal point of musical interest in Sydney in recent months has been Bennelong Point, more specifically the newly revamped Concert Hall at the Opera House. Central here has been the Sydney Symphony Orchestra under the new leadership of Simone Young, offering a series of wide-ranging and exhilarating concerts. But there has been other music making. Sydney’s indefatigable Sydney Chamber Opera has not been idle, and Friday saw the première of Awakening Shadow, an intriguing new/old work by Australian expatriate composer, Luke Styles, It comprises a melding of original music by Styles that enfolds the five Canticles of Benjamin Britten (1913–76).

... (read more)

Siegfried 

Melbourne Opera
by
26 September 2022

The past few weeks in Melbourne have seen a series of extraordinary musical events that collectively represent the ultimate triumph of the creative spirit over the forces of pestilence – something that applies equally to audiences as well as performers. There is certainly, hanging in the air, a palpable spirit of communion and fulfilled expectations from our re-emergence from the stygian isolation of Covid lockdown into the iridescent aura that only live performances can achieve. In Wagnerian terms, we are all Brünnhildes, reawakening from lengthy slumber to joyfully hail the sunlight. As it was – in life and in art – at Sunday’s magnificent performance of Siegfried.

... (read more)

The Human Voice and The Call 

Opera Queensland
by
26 September 2022

Opera Queensland’s third mainstage production of the year, presented in partnership with Brisbane Festival and in association with Fluxus, is a double bill of two one-woman operas where a single phone call changes the course of each character’s life. First came Francis Poulenc’s The Human Voice, followed by the world première of The Call.

... (read more)

Elektra 

Victorian Opera
by
19 September 2022

There are not too many parallels to be drawn between the House of Atreus and the House of Windsor, especially in these mournful times. But I could not help noticing one (admittedly tenuous) connection of memory and circumstance triggered by Victorian Opera’s powerful, almost magisterial one-off performance of Elektra and, later on at home, watching the procession of the Queen’s coffin down the Mall, from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall.

... (read more)

Lucrezia Borgia 

Melbourne Opera
by
30 August 2022

Few opera composers were more prolific than Gaetano Donizetti, and 1833 proved to be no exception in his relatively short career, with four separate premières in as many cities, culminating in Lucrezia Borgia, first heard at La Scala on 26 December. That season ran for thirty-three performances. The opera went on to become a popular vehicle for prima donnas (some nearing the end of their careers). Melbourne Opera’s reliably good program informs us that Lucrezia had its Australian première at Melbourne’s Theatre Royal in 1855 and remained popular for forty years, becoming Donizetti’s most performed opera in Victoria after Lucia di Lammermoor.

... (read more)

Based on Antonio Garcia Gutierrez’s El Trovador, a romantic melodrama set against the backdrop of a fifteenth-century Spanish civil war, Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore has been described as the ‘apotheosis of the bel canto opera, with its demands for vocal beauty, agility and range’. Yet in what is also his darkest and most death-haunted work, Verdi invests the brightness and vocal embellishments of bel canto with greater dramatic tension ...

... (read more)

Il Trovatore 

by
20 July 2022

Whenever you hear a good performance of any one of at least half a dozen operas by Giuseppe Verdi, it’s tempting to think: this surely he can never have surpassed. Il Trovatore, from his fecund middle phase, is one such opera. But then one recalls La Traviata and Don Carlo and Otello – on the list goes – and simply marvels at the variety and richness of his oeuvre.

... (read more)

Orontea 

by
30 May 2022

Antonio Cesti and Giacinto Cicognini’s frisky opera, Orontea, begins with an argument between philosophy and love as to who is the stronger. Love heads off to Egypt to create havoc chez the Egyptian Queen Orontea, but at her steamy court the contest seems to be more between the opposing delights of lust and alcohol. Orontea’s determination to remain a virgin queen dedicated to her subjects quickly crumbles on the sudden appearance of the painter Alidoro ...

... (read more)

Lohengrin 

by
16 May 2022

Not long before the 1845 première of Tannhäuser, Richard Wagner was holidaying at the spa of Marienbad. He had with him a copy of the anonymous German epic Lohengrin, and he was possessed. Ever the sensualist, he described the impact in luxurious terms:

... (read more)

In the program for the première of Voss in Adelaide in 1986, David Malouf observed:

No libretto can reproduce the novel from which it is drawn. A novel, especially a great one, is itself: unique, irreplaceable. The best a libretto can do is reproduce the experience of the book in a new and radically different form, allowing the form itself to determine what the experience will be.

... (read more)