Victorian Opera celebrates ten years with a massive total of ten productions in 2015.
Grand opera, music theatre, cabaret and concerts all feature in the varied presentations, which are sure to have that elusive “something for everyone” to please die hard opera lovers and newcomers alike. Having just received seven 2014 Helpmann Award Nominations, Victorian Opera’s 2015 season is keenly anticipated.
“2015 is a landmark year, and with this in mind the season embodies our unique spirit as a company, while extending the boundaries of the art form,” said Richard Mills, Victorian Opera’s Artistic Director (pictured above).
One of the most high profile moves of the year will see the return of opera to St Kilda’s iconic Palais Theatre, once the home of opera in Melbourne. Wagner’s early masterpiece The Flying Dutchman, to be staged with immersive 3D scenery, will star internationally renowned Wagner experts, bass-baritone Vitalij Kowaljow and soprano Petra Lang. (Man in Chair was lucky enough to see Kowaljow (below) opposite Jonas Kaufmann in La Forza del Destino in Munich this year)
Victorian Opera’s highly popular Sondheim Trilogy, directed by Stuart Maunder (below with Victorian Opera Head of Music Phoebe Briggs), will conclude with musical thriller Sweeney Todd. High profile baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes, who has already crossed over to music theatre with South Pacific and The King and I, will star as the demon barber of Fleet Street, and Antoinette Halloran will follow her supporting roles in Sunday in the Park with George and Into the Woods with a starring turn as villainous survivor Nellie Lovett.
The variety will continue with cabaret sensation Meow Meow set to play Anna in Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht’s Seven Deadly Sins. As part of their ongoing aim to provide plenty of experience and exposure for their young artists, this operetta will be preceded by a series of new Australian commissions sung by the graduating Master of Music (Opera Performance) students.
These students will also tour Australia in Remembrance, commemorating the ANZAC Centenary and featuring songs and poetry from 1914-1918 arranged by Richard Mills and Rodney Hall. Much-loved performer David Hobson will ties the stories together as a War Correspondent, with community choirs also set to join the performances in state capitals and regional centres.
Bellini’s bel canto favourite I Puritani will see the return of soprano Jessica Pratt (below), who won legions of Melbourne hearts as Violetta in La Traviata this year. Further concerts will include a celebratory Tenth Birthday concert, and David Hobson in Mother’s Day concert Heart and Soul. Unique Earth Hour concert Opera for the Earth, in partnership with Dumbo Feather, will be held at St Kilda venue The White House.
In the tradition of The Magic Pudding (below) and many more like it, Victorian Opera continues to cultivate and entice future lovers of opera by catering for family audiences. New commission The Grumpiest Boy in the World will feature author Finnegan Kruckemeyer’s adaptation of his story set to music by Joe Twist. Additionally, some of opera’s greatest music will be explored in new family production Alice’s Adventures in Operaland.
In addition to the ten productions that make up Victorian Opera’s tenth anniversary season, the year will begin with an evening in conversation with Richard Mills, The Art of Opera. “Next year will be a year of new productions, collaborations and significant regional development, which we hope will inspire and delight all who love singing and the magic of theatre,” said Mills.
Victorian Opera’s 2015 season is available on subscription now, with single tickets available in November.
Victorian Opera Season 2015:
The Art of Opera: 3 February Deakin Edge, Federation Square
The Flying Dutchman: 14, 17, 19 February, Palais Theatre
Opera for the Earth: 28 March ‘The White House,’ St Kilda
Tenth Birthday: 28 February, Deakin Edge, Federation Square
Heart & Soul: Mother’s Day Concert: 10 May Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
Alice’s Adventures in Operaland: 23 May Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne
I Puritani: 2 July, 7.30pm Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – A Musical Thriller: evenings 18, 21, 22, 23, 24 & 25 July, matinees 22 & 25 July, Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne
Remembrance: 13 August, Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
The Grumpiest Boy in the World: 2 October, 4 October The Coopers Malthouse
Seven Deadly Sins: 6 November, Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
For full details see Victorian Opera
Photos: #1, #3 Charlie Kinross, #2 Simon Parris