Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre, 17 April—11 May
Violetta wears velvet and lace and drinks the very best champagne from crystal glasses. Her parties are legendary, her company desired. She's free and free-spirited, living outside society's bounds, and for this courtesan, it seems like the party will never end. Could a little love really change everything?
This production by Elijah Moshinsky is one of our most successful, featuring lush party scenes in Paris and beautiful autumn afternoons in the countryside. Lavish, crowded sets and exquisite costumes combined with Verdi's famous tunes offer the perfect way to experience opera for the first time, or the chance to revisit a favourite with an exciting new cast.
Outstanding young American soprano Corinne Winters makes her Australian debut in her signature role.
Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre, 24 April—10 May
Three ominous chords ring out of the orchestra pit and the mood is set. On stage, the soaring marble columns are brilliant with light, but somewhere out of sight, a shadow looms. A runaway prisoner bursts into the chapel, and the opera takes off: a gripping tale of love, lust and betrayal unfolding at breakneck pace. Tosca has everything: a real and worldly love, an extraordinary heroine and the greatest villain in all of opera.
Puccini’s evocative music intensifies the emotion at every turn. Combined with John Bell’s thoughtful production set in Nazi-occupied Rome, the effect is “epic, absorbing and shattering” (The Sydney Morning Herald — ★★★★½). Tosca’s dramatic music demands powerhouse performers. American soprano Latonia Moore takes on Floria Tosca, a role coveted for its vast dramatic arc and show-stopping aria, ‘Vissi d’arte’. She leads a brilliant cast under the baton of sensational young conductor Andrea Battistoni.
Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre, 3—12 May
From a time when men were brave and bold comes the dreamer, Don Quichotte. He chases bandits. Tilts at windmills. Serenades the pretty girls. He’s a hero like the knights of old, pursuing dreams the world forgot.
It takes a special performer to make you fall in love with this eccentric character. Ferruccio Furlanetto’s Don Quichotte is famous. He takes the dreams and delusions of the famous knight-errant and paints an earnest and endearing portrait of a man out of time. Furlanetto’s Don Quichotte is brimful of whimsy and bursting with bravery. His sonorous bass finds all the colours of Massenet’s lush, romantic score.
He performs with brilliant French conductor Guillaume Tourniaire and Sian Pendry as the damsel Dulcinée.
The Coopers Malthouse, Merlyn Theatre , 25—27 October
Gregor is a broken man, exhausted by eternal work and an ungrateful family. Until one morning, he awakes, and is not a man at all. Kafka’s grotesque tragedy of a man turned insect is an engrossing story. Music adds an edgy intensity: Metamorphosis as opera is riveting, shattering, morbidly fascinating theatre.
Brian Howard’s score is percussive, inventive and courageous. Twelve musicians and six singers ratchet up the horror and pathos of this work: a story of social alienation in a modern, inhuman world. Director Tama Matheson and designer Mark Thompson combine their creative talents for a chamber opera at The Coopers Malthouse. Simon Lobelson performs the demanding role of Gregor and Paul Fitzsimon conducts.
Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre, 7—24 November
The way that first love grabs hold and floods you with something you've never felt before. The fire that burns the first time jealousy flares. The growing up you do in the instant that you realise love can't last forever. Puccini takes these achingly human feelings and sets them to music — music that soars with the ecstasy of love, crackles with the pain of jealousy and cries with the agony of loss.
Some human emotions are too big for words alone, and for that, we have music. La Bohème exposes your soul to the feelings that only music can express. Gale Edwards’ glittering production is set among the fishnets and fairy lights of 1930s bohemian Berlin.
Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre, 13—22 November
Exclusive to Melbourne
Wagner’s beloved comedy takes a joyful look at the art of music itself: what is wrong, what is right, and who decides. The mastersingers are holding a high-stakes singing competition, and Walther needs to win. He’s an outsider, an upstart, and he doesn’t know the rules. But to win the hand of his beloved Eva, he must sing the greatest song ever made.
Enter Hans Sachs: mastersinger, cobbler, and the beating human heart of this opera. He offers the newcomer all his warmth and wisdom, knowing it will cost his own chance at love. Hans Sachs is a prized tour de force for a baritone with a rich voice and absorbing stage presence. James Johnson leads a huge, exciting cast including Stefan Vinke, Warwick Fyfe and Natalie Aroyan.
Melbourne Recital Centre, 7 December
One of the world’s great mezzo-sopranos, Vivica Genaux, joins an ensemble of Australia’s finest early music musicians, led by the Helpmann Award winning Erin Helyard, for a jaw-dropping evening of Handel, Hasse, Vivaldi and other baroque contemporaries.