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Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
Bennelong Point, Sydney


Sung in Italian with English surtitles

Running Time

Approximately 3 hours, including two intervals.

Please note

This production contains partial nudity.

Mystery, intrigue, murder? Lovers’ liaisons don’t come any more dangerous than this.

She’s a superstar. Adored by all. She can have any man she chooses. Or can she?

Based on a true story, Adriana Lecouvreur is renowned as “the operatic equivalent of Sunset Boulevard” (The Guardian).

This is a tryst with a twist. A tumultuous real life entanglement is a love triangle ripe for operatic excess: the stellar actress, her aristocrat admirer, and his jealous ex who just happens to be Adriana’s greatest rival. Lashings of secrets, pungent violets, and composer Francesco Ciléa’s seductive score make this a high verismo drama.

From Montserrat Caballé and Joan Sutherland to Anna Netrebko, prima donnas of every era have aspired to sing Adriana. Australian-Armenian soprano Natalie Aroyan plays the role, meeting her match in Carmen Topciu’s smouldering mezzo as the Princess.

Tensions between the two simmer then explode over the attention of Count Maurizio, played by opera’s “high-flying leading man” (Vanity Fair), Michael Fabiano. Baritone Giorgio Caoduro adds depth to the potent mix as Michonnet, Adriana’s doting stage director.

Opera’s definitive statement on celebrity scandals brims with passion and peril. Inventive Italian director Rosetta Cucchi takes this salacious tale from the repertoire’s shadows to the limelight – where Adriana Lecouvreur rightfully belongs.

A co-production between Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Fundación Ópera de Oviedo and Opera Australia.

Cast & Creative

Rosetta Cucchi
Set Designer
Tiziano Santi
Costume Designer
Claudia Pernigotti
Lighting Designer
Daniele Naldi
Luisa Baldinetti
Video Designer
Roberto Recchia
Assistant Video Content Director
Stefania Panighini
The Principessa
The Abbé
The Prince
Mlle Jouvenot
Mlle Dangeville

Opera Australia Orchestra
Opera Australia Chorus

Adriana Lecouvreur, Sydney Opera House

Cheat Sheet: Adriana Lecouvreur

Here’s a guide of Cilea’s opera of Parisian passion and poison plots, from the history to quirky facts that will impress your date.

Read the cheat sheet


Overture Dining at the Sydney Opera House

Enjoy dinner before the opera

Overture Dining at Sydney Opera House

Allow us to make your dinner reservation for you: at Overture Dining in the Northern Foyer of the Joan Sutherland Theatre. You’ll be served a three-course menu for just $97.

See the menu



Backstage at the Comédie-française

The company is preparing for performances of Bajazet and Les Folies d’amour, and Michonnet, the stage director, is busy helping with last-minute preparations. The Prince of Bouillon, lover of the famous actress Mlle Duclos, enters with the Abbé Chazeuil. Adriana appears dressed as Roxanne, rehearsing her lines and, when complimented, modestly replies she is only the handmaiden of the author. Left alone with her, Michonnet is about to confess his love when she reveals she is in love with Maurizio, an officer in the service of the Count of Saxony. As the performance begins, Michonnet leaves and Maurizio, who, unknown to Adriana, is in fact the count himself, enters and passionately declares his love for her. Adriana says she will be performing only for him and, giving him a bunch of violets, leaves for the stage. The prince and the Abbé return, with a letter supposedly written by the prince’s mistress, Mlle Duclos, in which she invites Maurizio to her villa, a villa supplied by the prince. Determined to surprise the guilty pair, he invites the entire company to the villa after the performance and gives Adriana a key so she may come and go as she pleases. The letter is in fact from the Princess of Bouillon who is attempting to keep the count with promises of political influence in his attempt to gain the Duchy or Courland.


A room in the villa

The princess is waiting for Maurizio and reflects on lovers’ torments. He arrives but will talk only of politics and she suspects he is involved with another woman. He gives her the violets to placate er but will not divulge the name of his lover. When the prince and his guests arrive she hides in an adjoining room. Adriana discovers her lover’s true identity and agrees to help the unknown woman escape by giving her the key to the villa gate. Although neither recognises the other, their exchanges reveal they both love the count. As she escapes the princess drops a bracelet which Adriana finds and shows to Michonnet.

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