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The Magic Flute

Explore The Magic Flute, where animals dance and children fly...

Julie Taymor, director of Disney's The Lion King, has taken Mozart's fairy tale and turned it into a show that speaks to the child in all of us.  Whet your appetite with videos, interviews and insights into this extraordinary theatrical adventure.

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Vivacious Daria charms Sydneysiders

Soprano Daria Masiero’s poignant performances as Liù, the doomed slave girl in Opera Australia’s revival of Puccini’s Turandot, has been keeping Sydney audiences glued to their seats. When Allerta! meets the singer for a chat at a café outside the Sydney Opera House, it is not difficult to work out why audiences adore her. Her brown eyes sparkle with liveliness and she frequently breaks into song to illustrate a point. In English that is fluent after only three years of studying the language, she explains the challenges and rewards of the role. 

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Chorus gearing up for Handa Opera on the Harbour

For Opera Australia’s acting chorus master, Anthony Hunt, the Melbourne Spring/Sydney Summer season has been a flurry of activity, with several operas being rehearsed simultaneously, sometimes in both cities. As OA chorus master Michael Black is on sabbatical until next month, Hunt has been ‘maintaining’ operas since August last year, tackling his first ‘own’ opera in the lead-up to Turandot opening night in Sydney. His biggest summer project is the exciting upcoming Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour (HOSH) production of La Traviata.

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Richard Bonynge appointed Companion of the Order of Australia

Opera Australia congratulates Maestro Richard Bonynge AC CBE on his appointment as Companion of the Order of Australia as part of the 2012 Australia Day honours. He was appointed due to his "eminent service to the performing arts as an acclaimed conductor and musical scholar, to classical singing and the promotion of opera, and through the collection and preservation of operatic manuscripts”.

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Fatykhova the perfect countess

Elvira Fatykhova, the tiny Russian soprano who has moved Australian audiences like few other singers have with her heart-rending portrayal of Verdi’s Violetta Valéry, seems cut out for the role of another betrayed heroine: Mozart’s Countess in Marriage of Figaro. Yet Fatykhova never seriously thought of the role until she was approached to sing it in Benedict Andrews’ new production of the Mozart/Da Ponte masterpiece, which opened at the Sydney Opera House this month.

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Pizza, room service for Queen of the Night

Suzanne Shakespeare, who shares the role of the Queen of the Night with Emma Pearson and Angela Brun in Julie Taymor’s gorgeous Magic Flute production, on at the Sydney Opera House until the end of March, has one extravagance: she spends too much money on flying. But the London-based singer is not prepared to give up family Christmases in Melbourne, and the good thing is that regular flying has underpinned her proudest achievement: establishing both a successful singing career and a loving family life. That puts her minor sins – pizza and room service – into perspective. Read more about the soprano in this month’s The Operative Word

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Making magic: how Props created Flute puppets

Late last year Allerta! visited OA’s Workshop to see how the props for the Company’s new production of  The Magic Flute, which opened at the Sydney Opera House this month, were coming along. Originally created for the Met in New York, by Tony Award-winning designer/director Julie Taymor, this Flute is a visual extravaganza filled with extraordinary puppets reminiscent of those that populated Taymor’s hit production, The Lion King. The man responsible for building them in Sydney is OA’s Head of Props, Mat Lawrence. 

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“You want sequins? You got sequins!”

Tess Schofield, designer of the glamorous 1950s-inspired costumes for the epic outdoor event that is Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, considers the production “an incredible challenge and an amazing opportunity”. Not only is it lavish, but it’s outside: “We’re creating a large-scale entertainment, and what better place to do it than on Sydney Harbour, with the beautiful Opera House behind, fireworks in the sky, glittering water and a late-summer evening!” she says. She and director Francesca Zambello set the production in the 1950s because the era sits comfortably with La Traviata’s ethos.” 

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New Capital Fund Chairman thrilled to be part of OA future

Company Director Rupert Myer AM was recently appointed Chairman of the Opera Australia Capital Fund. Mr Myer, a Director of The Myer Family Company Ltd, has been an ongoing supporter of Opera Australia as a Patron of the Company for almost 30 years. In announcing the appointment, Adrian Collette AM, Chief Executive of Opera Australia, said he was delighted to have Mr Myer on board. Allerta! asked the gentlemen a few questions about the Capital Fund. 

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Queen of the Night has a thing for teacups…

Emma Pearson, Queen of the Night in OA’s new production of The Magic Flute, is a bubbly singer whose proudest moment came when a respected German opera magazine nominated her Singer of the Year.  She has a thing for teacups, pumpkin gnocchi and rolling pins, but can’t quite get through a popular novel which to many would seem very operatic indeed. To find out which and to learn more about our Queen of the Night, read this month’s The Operative Word

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Turandot debut a dream come true for Aboriginal baritone

For baritone Don Bemrose, extra chorus in OA’s revival of Graeme Murphy’s production of Turandot, which opens at the Sydney Opera House this month, making his debut with the national company is the realisation of a life-long dream. Bemrose, a member of OA’s Indigenous Development Program, decided on a career in opera when at age 12 he heard Aboriginal tenor and activist Harold Blair sing ‘Nessun dorma’ from Turandot

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The trouble with Donna Anna

Ever since Don Giovanni's world première in the 18th century, opera companies have found it tricky to cast the piece's main female protagonist, Donna Anna. Opera Australia Young Artist Nicole Car, the dark-haired, fair-skinned young soprano selected to perform the role in OA's revival of Don Giovanni, which opened at Melbourne's State Theatre this month, confirms that Donna Anna is "a difficult sing". But she's thrilled at having been given the opportunity to tackle the role.

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"This Flute's a hoot!"

Opera lovers are in for a treat when American director Julie Taymor's breathtaking production of Mozart's The Magic Flute, originally created for the Metropolitan Opera in New York, is coming to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane next year. Like her Tony Award-winning The Lion King, this Flute production is a visual extravaganza that incorporates over-sized puppets and physical theatre.

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Taran! Brass fanfare adds to New Year's Eve fun

Since the AOBO presented guests at the 1999-2000 New Year's Eve Opera Gala with its first newly composed fanfare, the boisterous musical announcement that tells guests it's time to take their seats, has become an Opera Australia New Year's Eve tradition.

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Steering clear of Wotan's wrath

If bass Stephen Bennett, Leporello in Don Giovanni, which opened at the Arts Centre this month, could have his way, he'd meet face-to-face with Bach, play his Gibson jazz guitar like a pro and never offend the god Wotan. He would have time to devote to woodwork and photography and finish reading The Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Or not... For more about this OA stalwart, read this month's The Operative Word. 

 

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Lyndon Terracini presents the Peggy Glanville-Hicks Address 2011

Let me begin by saying that I met Peggy Glanville-Hicks on a number of occasions....she was a feisty vibrant character with a provocative mind which she used with startling wit and intelligence. She thought about art and culture in the broadest sense and so I hope this evening I can do justice to the sort of address she would have considered worthy of her name.

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Smoke & mirrors: rejuvenating a 20-year-old production

Carl Friedrich Oberle’s costumes for the late Göran Järvefelt’s Don Giovanni production, which recently celebrated its 20th birthday, returned to Sydney and Melbourne this year after five years of interstate and overseas travel. Getting them ready for OA’s revival of this much-loved production was no simple task, as Costume Coordinator Bronwyn Jones tells Allerta!. 

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Big, bold and beautiful: Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour

With a stage approaching the size of an Olympic swimming pool, a chandelier as large as the Big Pineapple, comfortable grandstand seating in gorgeous garden surrounds, and a view to die for, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour promises to be one of the most spectacular productions Sydney has ever seen. 

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La Rocca curious about le smile

Teresa La Rocca, Annina in OA’s La traviata production, which opens at the Arts Centre, Melbourne this month, would love to be friends with fun-loving Musetta from Bohème, or with Don Giovanni’s loveable rascal, Leporello. Yet were she to be asked to settle for just one dinner with a historical figure, she would choose Leonardo da Vinci, whom she’s long wanted to ask about the reason for the smile on the Mona Lisa’s face. For more about this bubbly singer’s views on life, the universe and everything, read this month’s The Operative Word.

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Taming the Traviata tiger

Over the years, Opera Australia supporters have heard dozens of Violettas at the Sydney Opera House and at the Arts Centre, Melbourne. Each has been memorable in her own way. Yet in recent times, few have been as heart-rending as Elvira Fatykhova, who transported audiences with her poignant performances at the Sydney Opera House in 2010, and who makes her Melbourne debut as Violetta this month. She tells Allerta! about the pitfalls of singing one of opera’s most sought-after roles. 

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Ryan shines in acclaimed Of Mice and Men

Baritone Barry Ryan may prefer traditional repertoire – Sharpless is his favourite role – but he has been instrumental in the success of two of Opera Australia’s most celebrated contemporary productions of recent times: Brett Dean’s Bliss and Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men, which opens at the Arts Centre, Melbourne this month. We chat to him about preparing for and performing the role. 

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“We love it here”: Marek & Magda thrive on opera & Australia

Some married couples would be alarmed by the notion of working in the same profession and for the same company. Long-serving Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra members Marek Kruszynski (violin) and Magda Kruszynska (viola) are not among them. “We’ve always worked together; it would be hard to imagine what it would be like not to,” Marek says.

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Nightingale a feast of compelling theatre

Richard Mills discovered Timberlake Wertenbaker’s play, The Love of the Nightingale, “quite by accident”, in a bookshop while he was doing Christmas shopping. He read it in about an hour and realised that it was a wonderful piece of dramatic writing that would have great power on the operatic stage. This month, almost two decades after that serendipitous discovery, Mills’ opera opens at the Sydney Opera House. 

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How mentors YAP tomorrow’s stars

Opera Australia’s Moffatt Oxenbould Young Artist Program (YAP), which mentors talented young artists on the cusp of a career in opera, is forever updating its curriculum to address the issues facing today’s up-and-coming musicians.  The classical music world is changing in ways that could not have been foreseen only a few years ago, and artists have to adapt to it. 

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Virtuoso performances all round

Richard Mills’ The Love of the Nightingale  offers lovers of the soprano voice some of the most exquisite 21st-century music written for it, performed by the magnificent Emma Matthews. On the instrumental side,  AOBO Principal Flute Libby Pring is looking forward to combining virtuoso playing with Matthews’ “beautiful, gorgeous light soprano voice”. 

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Persistence, determination behind Anke’s success

If she could befriend a character from an opera, she’d opt for the boys from Fanciulla: “There’d never be a dull  moment!”Soprano Anke Höppner also admires director Harry Kupfer, her dad and her husband Barry Ryan. She splashes out on cosmetics, thrives on fruit, doesn’t care much for Haydn’s operas and would hate to lose her wedding ring. Find out more about Procne in The Love of the Nightingale in this month’sThe Operative Word. 

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Whitehouse tackles the toughest role of her career

Lady Macbeth is the toughest role she’s ever tackled, says Elizabeth Whitehouse, who performs it in René Richard Cyr’s new production, which opens at the Sydney Opera House this month. “The challenge is that you need three different voice types to sing it: dramatic soprano, lyric soprano and coloratura,” Whitehouse says. 

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Sounding & looking great: why opera singers have health & fitness regimes

Most of us occasionally succumb to the urge to sleep for another hour rather than to get up and exercise. Some of us even succumb to it for entire winters. Opera singers can’t do that. To them, physical fitness is a crucial part of performance practice. We speak to Luke Gabbedy and Amelia Farrugia about their fitness regimes.

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Wotif you could write an opera?

Music staff from Opera Australia’s WotOpera initiative, sponsored by Wotif.com founder Graeme Wood, have been working with 80 students from four Victorian schools from mid-August to create four operas from page to stage. When the curtain goes up on the productions from Dandenong High School, Carwatha College, Emerald College and Kilbreda Collega at Dandenong’s Drum Theatre this month, the audience will be able to share the amazing journey on which the students have been. 

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From IT to Opera: Commendatore a milestone for Parkin

For Operatunity Oz star David Parkin, who is making his role debut as the Commendatore in Don Giovanni this month [September], performing the role of Mozart’s avenging ghost  is the realisation of a life-long dream. “Walking on stage as the Commendatore has been my ambition since age 10, when I saw Donald Shanks in the role at the Sydney Opera House,” he says, speaking to Allerta! in his dressing room backstage at the Opera House. 

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The Merry Widow waltz a shocker in its time

To 21st-century audiences used to Madonna and Lady Gaga, the news that the waltz was once considered revolutionary, might come as a surprise. Yet that’s exactly what it was when people first began to dance it, says Stuart Hopps, choreographer for Giles Havergal’s new production of Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow, which runs at the Sydney Opera House until early November. “It’s hard to imagine nowadays, when we’re used to throwing ourselves against each other on the dance floor, how shocking and daring the waltz was in its time,” he says. 

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Smith dreams of a ticked off to-do list

Stephen Smith, Malcolm in Verdi’s Macbeth and Don Ottavio (second cast) in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, both of which open at the Sydney Opera House month, loves rock climbing and having a gin and tonic with his wife, dreams of having everything on his to-do list done, spends too much on electronic gadgets, got hooked on opera after seeing La bohème, and could have been a tradesman if he hadn’t become a singer. 

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Schools Company presents Hansel and Gretel with shadow interpreters

Oz Opera’s Schools Company, which pioneered the use of fully integrated Auslan interpreters in its Sid the Serpent production last year, has been using them again in its Hansel and Gretel production, which is running in Victorian schools until October. To help raise awareness of the National Week of Deaf People in October, Oz Opera is also presenting a week of by-demand performances for the deaf community. 

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Hobson in triple-threat Merry Widow debut

David Hobson, Danilo in The Merry Widow, which opens at the Sydney Opera House this month, refers to Franz Lehár’s’ piece as a “triple-threat” show, calling for considerable singing, dancing and acting ability. Conductor Andrew Greene adds:  “And yet it has to seem simple. The public has to think: ‘I could do that’.”

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First Indigenous opera at The Arts Centre, Melbourne

Deborah Cheetham fell in love with opera when on 17 February 1979 she attended an Australian Opera Merry Widow production in which Dame Joan Sutherland performed the title role. She was 14 years old and since then has become Australia’s foremost Indigenous soprano, founded an Indigenous opera company, Short Black Opera, and composed Australia’s first Indigenous opera, Pecan Summer, on at The Arts Centre, Melbourne from 28 September.

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Wardrobe makes Lakmé swan sail

Recently at the Opera Centre in Surry Hills, art and textile design students attended a presentation where Set and Costume Designer Mark Thompson, Wardrobe Director Lyn Heal and Wardrobe Buyer Miranda Brock talked about the extraordinary lengths to which they went to bring audiences the colourful confection that is Opera Australia’s Lakmé production, on at the Sydney Opera House this month.

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Diamonds are a widow’s best friend

Amelia Farrugia, Hanna in The Merry Widow, loves the men in her life, a roast in the oven, and diamonds on her fingers. She’s not keen on huffing and puffing at the gym, atonal music, feeling trapped and being denied her daily dose of chocolates. But she’s optimistic that none of these things will be forced on her…much.

Read the full article in 'The Operative Word'


The Mikado rolls out in cinemas across Australia

Opera Australia is having a busy winter in cinemas all over the world. This month the Company’s The Mikado, starring Mitchell Butel, rolls out in cinemas across Australia and New Zealand, and in July, OA screenings began in the USA, UK, Canada, Spain and Russia. Due to popular demand, The Marriage of Figaro, Rigoletto and Der Rosenkavalier  had a second run in an expanded cinema network across Australia and New Zealand this winter. The Mikado is on in cinemas from August 12-17.

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Music adds drama to Mice and Men

Director Bruce Beresford suggested Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men, which opens at the Sydney Opera House this month, to Opera Australia because he knew that it would appeal to Australian audiences: “When I first heard it, I thought the music was melodic and powerful,” he says. “The friendship and tragedy of Lennie and George is even more affecting when sung than when read, as the music brings so much emotion to the drama."

 

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Getting word out about Bohème

La bohème, which opens at the Sydney Opera House this month, is arguably the most popular opera in the repertoire. Like other opera companies around the world, Opera Australia depends on it to bring in substantial box office. The Company’s publicity team, National PR and Publicity Manager Imogen Corlette and Senior Publicist Myriam Conrie, are spreading word about Gale Edwards’s production far and wide.
 

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‘I just love to sing’

He has a weakness for leather jackets and fancy shoes, couldn’t possibly part with his rice cooker, takes pride in having co-raised four children, and wouldn’t mind having dinner with Abraham Lincoln or Uma Thurman. Meet OA stalwart Shane Lowrencev, Schaunard in La bohème and this month’s Operative Word.

 

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Cheryl Barker answers your questions about her career and Capriccio

Last month we invited our Facebook and Twitter fans to submit questions for Cheryl Barker as she prepares for her role debut in Capriccio. In an exclusive video interview, she answers your questions and shares her thoughts on this unique opera. Watch the video and read the transcript here.

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Principal second violin thrives on pit buzz

When the AOBO’s recently appointed new Principal Second Violin, Airena Nakamura, first began to lead, she found it stressful. “I was very nervous, but now I’m enjoying it. Working with the other principals and the rest of the orchestra is like playing chamber music, which I love. And I just adore playing Puccini; I’m going to get a real buzz from La bohème.”

 

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Capriccio continues the great Barker journey

Cheryl Barker, who this month at the Sydney Opera House makes her role debut as the Countess in Strauss’s Capriccio, finds the work highly amusing, since it shines a light on many of the hurdles that singers encounter on the great journey of discovery that is a career in opera. In a candid interview with Allerta!, Barker talks about a few of the  challenges she has faced in the course of her personal journey of discovery.

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'I can't imagine life without opera': The Operative Word - Nicole Car

She loves jazz, doing crosswords and baking scones; spends too much money on handbags and never finished Anna Karenina. Meet the lovely Nicole Car, this month’s Operative Word and the Italian singer in Capriccio, which opens at the Sydney Opera House on July 2. 

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OA/Peking Opera collaboration creates mutual understanding

Last month, for the first time in the companies’ history, Opera Australia and Peking Opera combined forces to present a concert at the opening ceremony of the 11th Meet in Beijing Arts Festival. The event, attended by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, was also part of the celebrations of the Year of Australian Culture in China. OA artists Amelia Farrugia, Sian Pendry, Martin Buckingham and Christopher Hillier, as well as the Peking Opera cast, were supported by the Beijing Symphony Orchestra.

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Ten-minute Bohème raises awareness of opera

When Wardrobe Buyer Miranda Brock first saw costume designer Julie Lynch‘s sketches for our new La bohème production set in the 1920s, she knew that keeping to the budget was going to be difficult. ‘You can tell by the amount of detail if an ensemble is going to be expensive to put together,’ says Brock of the production that opens at the Arts Centre next week.  Find out how our wardrobe department tackled the challenge.

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Woodwinds love to play Strauss

When conductor Simon Hewett was learning the score of Macbeth, which opens at the Arts Centre this month, he thought that there was a little too much of the early Verdi oompah-oompah in it but he changed his mind during a performance of Macbeth in Paris last year.  "It bowled me over and made me hear the music as absolutely spine-chilling."  Hewett hopes to achieve something similiar in his own conducting of the opera.

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Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour preparations in full swing

For Opera Australia’s Technical Department, Sydney’s summer season is traditionally the busiest of the year. And Summer 2012 is set to exceed anything that the Company has experienced so far. Says OA Technical Director, Chris Yates: “Nothing that we have done in the past compares with what awaits us in 2012, when Opera Australia presents La Traviata on Sydney Harbour for a three-week season starting 24 March 2012.”

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Ko-Ko the Hamlet of Musical theatre

Avenue Q star Mitchell Butel is looking forward to making his Opera Australia debut as Ko-Ko in Stuart Maunder’s revival of The Mikado at the Arts Centre this month.   ‘Ko-Ko is the role to which every musical theatre performer aspires,’ he says.  ‘One could say it’s the Hamlet of musical theatre comedy.’

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The Pearlfishers a fest of fabulous tunes

Pearlfishers conductor Olivier Cunéo, who grew up in France and Western Australia, playing French repertoire is part of exploring his roots. To OA audiences, the popularity of Bizet’s early opera lies in the composer’s amazing gift for melody, and in exposure to the music through the work of Richard Bonynge and Joan Sutherland. 

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Oz Opera Manager wants to go (new) places

Sandra Willis, the new manager of Oz Opera, is passionate about reaching new communities and developing new audiences, especially in underprivileged and regional areas that don’t get to see a lot of theatre. ‘Oz Opera is about killing the notion that opera, classical music and live theatre are only for the privileged few,’ she says.

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Balancing the budget - the challenge of buying for Bohème

When Wardrobe Buyer Miranda Brock first saw costume designer Julie Lynch‘s sketches for our new La bohème production set in the 1920s, she knew that keeping to the budget was going to be difficult. ‘You can tell by the amount of detail if an ensemble is going to be expensive to put together,’ says Brock of the production that opens at the Arts Centre next week.  Find out how our wardrobe department tackled the challenge.

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The thrill of conducting Macbeth

When conductor Simon Hewett was learning the score of Macbeth, which opens at the Arts Centre this month, he thought that there was a little too much of the early Verdi oompah-oompah in it but he changed his mind during a performance of Macbeth in Paris last year.  "It bowled me over and made me hear the music as absolutely spine-chilling."  Hewett hopes to achieve something similiar in his own conducting of the opera.

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Thirty-eight years in the Pit

When cellist Henry Urbanavicius and violist Marilyn Wilson, longest-serving members of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra (AOBO), joined the ensemble in 1973, neither of them imagined that they would spend the rest of their working lives playing opera. The reason for their staying power is simple: they love what they do, even though over the years they've experienced their share of ups and downs.

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Emma’s Partenope as passionate & determined as she is

Soprano Emma Matthews makes her debut in the title role of OA’s new production of Partenope this month. Allerta! chats to her about singing in a variety of musical styles, writing her own cadenzas and negotiating the brave new world of opera on film.

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Catherine Carby spreads her wings

When Catherine Carby, Arsace in Christopher Alden’s new production of Handel’s Partenope, which opens at the Sydney Opera House this month, takes her final bow on March 31, it will be a while before she is seen on an Australian stage again – she and her family are moving to London, where they plan to stay indefinitely.

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Keeping things from going bump in the dark

When the curtain goes up on an opera performance, not too many audience members take a moment to consider the mechanics of the set. And just as well that they don’t – it’s often when spectators begin to notice the seams that hold a production together that things go out of whack...

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New milliner thrives on being part of OA crafts community

After four years in the UK – the first as student at London’s Kensington and Chelsea College and the rest as milliner for top international designers Stephen Jones and Misa Harada – OA’s recently appointed new assistant milliner, Rebecca Willis, returned to Sydney for a specific purpose: to make a wedding dress. “In Uni I’d promised a friend that when she got married I’d make her dress,” she says, with a smile. “I did exactly that.”

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Opera Summer School

Internationally acclaimed Australian soprano Lisa Gasteen's dream of establishing a summer school for highly talented young opera singers in Australia will soon be realised when the school opens in November/December 2011 at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.

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Opera Australia in Cinemas

When the Metropolitan Opera began its live simulcasts in 2006, no one could have predicted that it would herald the beginning of a new era for all major opera companies. As Opera Australia Recording, Broadcast and New Media Producer, Samantha Russell, says: "Opera films signalled a change in the cultural landscape which we could not ignore."

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Twenty-eight years of volunteering for the Opera

Ever since its inception, Opera Australia has relied on help from volunteers. Today the Company uses fifteen volunteer tour guides and about six regulars who help with mail-outs, filing and sorting. Some of them have been coming for almost thirty years. They love the company and they want to contribute to opera. This month we chat to three volunteers who spent the best years of their lives working at the Opera Centre on Tuesdays.

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The Operative Word - Dominica Matthews

Dominica Matthews, Rosina in The Barber of Seville and this month’s Operative Word, would like to ask Rossini that question. She’d also like to know why her team had to lose in the Ashes this summer, how it is that all her favourite foods are brimming with calories, how she became addicted to shoes and handbags, and who the father of her children is going to be.

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Helping singers sound their best

Pittsburgh Opera Music Director Antony Walker, who conducts Rossini’s The Barber of Seville at the Sydney Opera House this month, talks to Allerta! about coloratura, comedy, being a singers’ conductor and making his Met debut in Gluck’s L’Orfeo this April.

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The nobility of hope: why Racette loves Butterfly

Patricia Racette, Butterfly in this month’s Sydney revival of Moffatt Oxenbould’s production for Opera Australia, is a busy woman. But she doesn’t allow the schedule to get to her. Minutes after checking in at her Sydney hotel (at 6.30pm on a Friday afternoon), the soprano good-naturedly takes a break to talk to Allerta!, chatting away while putting down her bags, moving the phone and finding a comfortable spot.

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The Operative Word - Jud Arthur

He loves his oven and his plasma TV and it was Tosca that got him hooked on opera. He dreams of singing at the Met one day, but he doesn’t think he needs to hear "anything with three countertenors and a soprano" again. In this month’s The Operative word, we sit down with the charming Jud Arthur, the Bonze in this month’s production of Madama Butterfly. More...

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Dancer-director a perfect fit for Carmen revival

As a former dancer, Opera Australia resident director Matthew Barclay says he particularly enjoys directing the Company’s revival of Francesca Zambello’s finely choreographed Carmen production, which opens at the Sydney Opera House this month. “I enjoy reproducing the show’s choreography and find it relatively easy to do so,” he says.

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What the Fonica

Those who attended our recent season of Puccini's The Girl of the Golden West and possessed of keen ears may have chanced to hear an interesting aural effect in the last three bars of Act I, a shimmering, tremulous metallic chord emanating from behind the scenes as the curtain descends on the love duet of Dick Johnson and Minnie.

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It takes stamina to be Helena

Back in Australia after a four-year sojourn in Berlin, Lisa Harper-Brown sings the role of Helena in Opera Australia’s revival of Baz Luhrmann's production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

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The Operative Word - Kanen Breen

Tenor Kanen Breen, Nanki-Poo in Opera Australia’s revival of The Mikado, appears in Company productions so often that most audience members probably feel they know him well. Yet in this month’s Operative Word, this much-loved member of OA’s ensemble gives some frank new insights into the person behind the masks.

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The Operative Word - Tenor David Corcoran

Tenor David Corcoran, grew up thinking he'd be a psychologist. Now that he's a singer, he has a love of for sourdough, Puccini and his wife and young son. To name a few. For more, read this month's Operative Word.

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The Operative Word - Rosario La Spina

Rosario La Spina, who sings Macduff in Verdi's Macbeth which opens at the Arts Centre on 20 April, always knew he wanted to be a singer.  Perhaps because that dream has come true in such a spectacular way, La Spina is optimistic about absolutely everything.  He also thinks the Due in Rigoletto would be fun to hang out with, and loves KISS and Mozart.  For more on the upbeat tenor, read this month's Operative Word.

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The Operative Word - Jacqueline Dark

Why do you do the job that you do? I have loved singing for as long as I can remember, and to be fortunate enough to do it for a living is an incredible gift for which I'm grateful every day.

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The Operative Word - Lyndon Terracini

Why do you do the job that you do? There's this generator inside me that insists that I do what I do. I don't sleep very much, I just think of all the stuff that relates to Opera Australia, that I have to do. I don't have a life except for the life that I have here. It's always been this way for me – when I was singing, when I was running festivals, and now that I am artistic director of Opera Australia.

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The Operative Word - Michael Lewis

Why do you do the job that you do? I believe that I was born to be on the stage. Besides, I can't do anything else!

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The Operative Word - Stuart Maunder

Why do you do the job that you do? I can't do anything else, thankfully I love directing.

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The Operative Word - Teddy Tahu Rhodes

Why do you do the job that you do? It was always my dream and to live your dream is like nothing else – a great privilege.

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The Operative Word - Mark Fitzpatrick, AOBO Principal Second Violin

Why do you do the job that you do? I left teacher’s college to play in an orchestra, always my great love. Years later I discovered the specialist art of 2nd violin, which along with the violas is the rhythmic engine of an orchestra. That’s what I love.

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