ABR Arts Opera

La Traviata (Opera Australia) ★★★★1/2

Michael Halliwell
Friday, 02 March 2018

It is a particular pleasure for an opera lover, even a hard-bitten critic, to watch a career develop and blossom. Nicole Car, making her role début as Violetta for Opera Australia, is one such singer. Audiences have enjoyed her in a series of important roles ...

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The Nose (Opera Australia) ★★★★★

Zoltán Szabó
Friday, 23 February 2018

Dmitri Shostakovich’s rarely performed first opera, The Nose (1930), premièred in the Sydney Opera House on 21 February. To add to the ‘firsts’: this was Barrie Kosky’s début at Covent Garden in 2016, it is Kosky’s first work for Opera Australia in almost twenty years, and this is the first professional production ...

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Tristan and Isolde (Melbourne Opera) ★★★★1/2

Barney Zwartz
Tuesday, 06 February 2018

Tristan und Isolde, the opera in which Richard Wagner really took art in a new direction, is often described as the most important musical work of the nineteenth century. No lesser authority than Kobbé calls it the most influential opera in all musical history, while the great Wagner conductor Christian Thielemann says it is ...

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Coronation of Poppea (Pinchgut Opera) ★★★★

Michael Halliwell
Friday, 01 December 2017

The political and sexual machinations on the stage at Angel Place in Sydney, ostensibly depicting an event during the inglorious reign of Emperor Nero in 54–68 CE, might be interpreted in a very contemporary light in terms of politics and society. An opera that represents ruthless political ambition allied to lust, cruelty, corruption ...

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Opera: Passion, Power and Politics (Victoria and Albert Museum)

Michael Shmith
Monday, 27 November 2017

Opera is not a small artform. It is labyrinthine, multi-faceted, fraught with things that can go disastrously wrong (Wagner, especially), and it can be dreadfully expensive, formidably divisive, and astonishingly complicated. At the same time, opera is so necessarily crucial to culture as a reflection of history, thought, and ...

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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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