ABR Arts Opera

La Bohème (Opera Australia) ★★★1/2

Michael Halliwell
Monday, 27 February 2017

The real test of an opera singer is how they sound in an opera theatre. The bane of ‘legitimate’ opera singers’ lives are singers on television talent shows, many of whom describe themselves as ‘opera singers’. They sing the occasional opera aria, frequently transposed into a more comfortable ...

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'Tis Pity (Victorian Opera) ★★★★

Peter Rose
Monday, 13 February 2017

Contemporary opera doesn’t come much more innovative, vibrant or entertaining than Victorian Opera’s ‘Tis Pity: An operatic fantasia on selling the skin and the teeth, which played at the Melbourne Recital Centre from 4–8 February. Indefatigable VO Artistic Director Richard Mills has ...

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King Roger (Opera Australia) ★★★★1/2

David Larkin
Monday, 23 January 2017

Within the Australian context, any allusion to King Roger would be taken by most to be an admiring soubriquet for the Swiss tennis maestro who, as it happens, won through to the quarter finals of the Australian Open while this review was being written. But while Melbourne is in thrall to the ...

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Theodora (Pinchgut Opera) ★★★★

Ian Dickson
Thursday, 01 December 2016

‘The Jews will not come to it because it is a Christian story and the ladies will not come because it is a virtuous one.’ George Frideric Handel’s much-quoted explanation for the lack of success of Theodora, his penultimate oratorio, may or may not be accurate, but there is no doubt about its ...

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Götterdämmerung (Opera Australia) ★★★★

Peter Rose
Thursday, 01 December 2016

After the exaltation of the closing duet in Siegfried (memorably sung by Stefan Vinke and Lise Lindstrom), we had to wait until the second part of the Prologue to Götterdämmerung before meeting the post-coital lovers. First we had the Norns (Tania Ferris, Jacqueline Dark, Anna-Louise Cole ...

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Porgy and Bess (Sydney Symphony Orchestra) ★★★★1/2

Michael Halliwell
Monday, 28 November 2016

If any work can be dubbed as ‘The Great American Opera’, it is Gershwin’s genre-transgressing masterpiece, Porgy and Bess. It was based on white Southern writer DuBose Heyward’s novel Porgy (1925), as well as on his highly successful stage adaptation of the novel which had been a hit in ...

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Siegfried (Opera Australia) ★★★★1/2

Peter Rose
Monday, 28 November 2016

We know that Siegfried – third opera in Der Ring des Nibelungen – had a curious gestation. Wagner put it aside after writing Act II, as if weary of Siegfried’s progress: this improbable hero’s search for love, fulfilment, individuation. For twelve years Wagner was diverted by love of a ...

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Die Walküre (Opera Australia) ★★★★1/2

Peter Rose
Thursday, 24 November 2016

Die Walküre, for Arts Update, is the most successful work in Neil Armfield’s production of Der Ring des Nibelungen, now well underway at Arts Centre Melbourne. And this is fitting, Die Walküre being, for some us, the greatest of operas, with a first act of singular perfection, some of the ...

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Das Rheingold (Opera Australia) ★★★

Peter Rose
Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Der Ring des Nibelungen returns to Melbourne three years after its première here. Those three cycles sold out quickly; these ones haven’t, understandably, but the State Theatre seemed pretty full on opening night. Some alterations have been made, but the production is largely intact ...

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Freeze Frame Opera Launch ★★★★

Rosalind Appleby
Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Opera is dead, scaremongers have been saying for years. Yet Perth is witnessing an operatic renaissance, and recently a company was launched, the third new one in six years. The emergence of these organic, grassroots organisations is all the more remarkable given the devastation inflicted on ...

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