Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, 1 January—19 August
Stroll down to the Sydney Opera House and join the stars of Opera Australia for a concert of the greatest hits of opera.
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, 2 January—3 February
Hanna is newly wealthy, newly widowed and suddenly, she's the hottest catch in town. Dapper gents are lining up for a place on her dance card, but the beguiling widow has eyes for only one man: the one that got away.
International star Danielle de Niese returns to her homeland to play the bubbly, beautiful widow, inadvertent heiress of a city's fortune after just eight days of marriage.
She's looking for love, but the widow is not the only one turning heads. There's plenty of love to go around in this story of amorous encounters and elegant romance.
Lehár's charming operetta is filled with delicious waltzes and pretty ballads, including the famous 'Vilja Song'. Graeme Murphy brings his spirited choreography and direction to this glamorous new production.
Not afraid of spoilers? Read the full synopsis.
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, 10 February—23 March
This vibrant production of Bizet's opera features gypsy girls and bullfighting boys in eye-popping colours. There are smugglers in suits, parades and punches, lust and loathing aplenty. And underneath those irresistible Spanish tunes, the dark undercurrent of fate pulses. Carmen knows she is dancing with death.
John Bell's production is a bold look at the intense relationships at the heart of Bizet's famous opera. It hones in on the wild love that promises freedom, while binding the lovers in an unbreakable web of fate.
Paolo Carignani conducts the vivacious Rinat Shaham as opera's favourite femme fatale, with Argentine tenor Marcelo Puente as Don Jose and Michael Honeyman as Escamillo. Later in the season, Sian Pendry, star of last year's Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, reprises this famous role.
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, 21 February—3 March
When Shostakovich released his debut opera into the world at the tender age of 20, his brilliance was plain as the nose on his face. The Nose is a zany, exuberant story with weird and wonderful 20th century music, in an outrageous production by the inventive Barrie Kosky.
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, 1—27 March
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.
Adored at home and sought-after abroad, Nicole Car makes her debut as Violetta.
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, 16—28 March
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 Elena Maximova as the damsel Dulcinée.
Opera on Sydney Harbour, Fleet Steps, Mrs Macquaries Point, 23 March—22 April
Experience the romance of the original bohemian love story at the magnificent Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour. You’ll taste the best of Sydney in a single night out: food, fireworks, singing and spectacle under the stars.
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.
Pinchgut Opera presents
City Recital Hall, Angel Place, 21—26 June
Handel’s brilliance is in full flight with Athalia. A juicy story of murder, intrigue and an idol-worshipping Queen intent on eradicating the line of David. Pinchgut Opera Artistic Director Erin Helyard forms a winning combination once again with director Lindy Hume to present Handel’s stunning choruses and heart-stopping moments of musical magic and wonder. This will be Pinchgut Opera at its very best.
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, 28 June—27 July
Lucia is a woman on the edge of insanity: deceived by her brother, bereft of her lover, she marries a man she does not love and descends into madness.
The sopranos that conquer her stratospheric notes are some of the greatest the world has ever seen. Jessica Pratt has joined the ranks of Nellie Melba and Joan Sutherland: one of just three Australians to sing this role on the hallowed La Scala stage.
Pratt performs her celebrated Lucia with Michael Fabiano’s intense Edgardo and Giorgio Caoduro’s menacing Enrico.
Carlo Montanaro conducts this brilliant young cast in a compelling production by John Doyle with period designs by Liz Ascroft.
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, 6 July—24 August
Leo Nucci is the most famous interpreter of Rigoletto in a generation. He brings his legendary performance as the bitter court jester to Australia for the first time, with Gianluca Terranova and Irina Lungu under the baton of Verdi veteran, Renato Palumbo. Dalibor Jenis, Nadine Sierra and Attala Ayan are a dream alternate cast.
Roger Hodgman’s plush, period production presents a dark and dangerous world, with forbidding sets and costumes rich in detail.
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, 18 July—31 August
Verdi’s monumental, transcendent music makes this historic epic a perennial favourite. Our new production comes from the celebrated Italian director Davide Livermore.
He is renowned for high-tech, projected sets so tangible, it’s hard to believe they are just light and shadow. Immersive, impressive, intimate — this is the future of spectacle on stage.
Thrilling young conductor Andrea Battistoni returns to lead this production. Three magnificent casts perform Verdi’s difficult leads. You don’t want to miss the stunning soprano of Amber Wagner, paired with Elena Gabouri as Amneris and Riccardo Massi as Radamès.
Later in the season, rising star Natalie Aroyan takes on her dream role, and Clémentine Margaine, Milijana Nikolic, Diego Torre and Yonghoon Lee join the all-star lineup.
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, 10 August—1 September
From Italy’s greatest master of laughs comes a riotous comedy with a knockout score. It skips and sparkles from the gruffest of bass notes to the impossibly high reaches of Stacey Alleaume's coloratura.
Andrea Molino leads a cracking team of comic talents, including Paolo Bordogna in his side-splitting performance as the Turk. Simon Phillips' playful production wrings every last laugh from Rossini’s ridiculous romp.
Gabriela Tylesova’s gelato-coloured costumes and clever, cartoonish sets are stars in their own right: a candied cherry on top of this rather outrageous ice-cream sundae.
Canberra Theatre, 6—8 September
Madame Butterfly is a love story that reaches across cultures, across oceans, across time.
Puccini's popular opera inspired the musical Miss Saigon. It is filled with gorgeous music, from the lovers' first rapturous embrace to the intense finale. It features the famous aria 'One Fine Day' and the Humming Chorus, along with Japanese and American musical themes.
One of Australia's greatest theatrical minds, John Bell, directs this English-language production, complete with beautiful costumes and sets. Hear Opera Australia's wonderful singers perform with a chamber orchestra, along with a children's chorus, drawn from the local community.
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House, 13 September—3 November
With more than 20 major awards to its credit, the original Broadway and West End production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's iconic musical Evita will open at the Sydney Opera House in September 2018, directed by legendary Broadway director Hal Prince.
Evita charts the story of Eva Peron, wife of Argentine dictator Juan Peron, from her humble beginnings through to the extraordinary wealth, power and status which ultimately led her to be heralded as the ‘spiritual leader of the nation' by the Argentine people.
Evita features some of the best loved songs in musical theatre, including 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina', 'On This Night of a Thousand Stars', 'Oh What a Circus', 'You Must Love Me', and 'Another Suitcase in Another Hall'.
Opera Australia Scenery Workshop, The Opera Centre, Dawson St, Surry Hills, 26—29 September
The Coopers Malthouse, Merlyn Theatre , 25—27 October
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 focus their creative talents on an unusual stage. This chamber opera will take place in the Opera Australia scenery workshop — that magical space where castles, tombs and salons rise from piles of plywood. This season, it becomes a performance space, where a talented cast perform this contemporary piece.
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.
Pinchgut Opera presents
City Recital Hall, Angel Place, 29 November—5 December
A triumph of casting and repertoire, Pinchgut Opera is proud to present four-time Grammy Award-nominated queen of opera Vivica Genaux with an all-star cast, including superb Australian countertenor David Hansen. Hasse's Artaserse has never been performed in Australia, and Pinchgut Opera is excited to revive this work under the sure hand of Artistic Director Erin Helyard.
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.