Soprano Jane Sheldon in La Passion de Simone. Kaija Saariaho’s work had its Australian premiere at the 2019 Sydney Festival, performed by the Sydney Chamber Opera.
The Australian premiere of La Passion de Simone uses multiple voices to tell a story about philosopher Simone Weil. But the work lacks the emotional drama of its subject's life.
American mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux in the lead female role of Mandane in Artaserse.
Artaserse is an old Roman fable of treachery and the ethical power of clemency that becomes a psychological study of conflicting desires.
The cast of Opera Australia’s 2018 production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Arts Centre Melbourne.
Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (The Mastersingers of Nuremburg) is a long, complex work. An ensemble performance by Opera Australia transports Wagner’s 16th-century guild of mastersingers to a modern-day men’s club.
Othello and Desdemona, Henri Jean-Baptiste Victoire Fradelle, circa 1827.
“They have been crucifying Othello into an opera,” Lord Byron later wrote after watching Rossini's opera. But the performance does much to highlight the play's racial politics.
Stunning: the new-look Royal Opera House at Covent Garden.
Royal Opera House
The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden has spent £50m to rejuvenate its image and shake off its elitist tag.
Samuel Dundas and Siobhan Stagg in Victorian Opera’s production of Pelléas and Mélisande.
Pelléas and Mélisande tells a story of forbidden love between its title characters, set in the fictitious kingdom of Allemonde. However the action offstage before the opera's 1902 premiere was just as dramatic.
Stuart Skelton in the title role of Peter Grimes.
Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes premiered in 1945, when the composer was 31. The work can be seen as an examination of the individual versus the community and the sinister potential of the collective.
Peter Coleman-Wright and Merlyn Quaife during a dress rehearsal of Bliss in 2010: it is one of few important local operas over the past three decades to have been staged a second time.
Australian operas have been written about many pressing topics - from the Stolen Generations to the Lindy Chamberlain case - but few have been staged a second time. What is going wrong?
Dancers in Opera Australia’s 2018 production of Aida at the Sydney Opera House.
Opera Australia's new production of Aida features movable LED panels with digital scenery. It's part of a revolution transforming the art form.
The cast of Victorian Opera’s staging of William Tell.
In its original form, Rossini's William Tell went for five hours. Yet soon after its 1829 debut it was being cut for the comfort of its audience. Its Overture - a mere 12 minutes - has become one of the most famous pieces of classical music.
Brenton Spiteri as the priest of Baal, with Emma Pearson as Athalia, Queen of Judah.
Pinchgut's typically excellent production of Athalia brings vividly to life the tale of the rogue Biblical queen.
Opera goers are high multiplier voters. Win them over and you might get a few more supporters along the way.
Veiled girls appear with death masks in Sydney Chamber Opera’s The Howling Girls.
A new opera explores the story of five girls who believed that debris from the World Trade Centre was lodged in their throats after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Allan Clayton as Hamlet and Lorina Gore as Ophelia in Brett Dean’s opera at the Adelaide Festival.
Neil Armfield's production of the Brett Dean opera Hamlet is a confronting three hours in the theatre, but then so is Shakespeare's play. The second act is devastating in its emotional impact.
Livecasting in cinemas is only part of the solution in the struggle to attract larger and younger audiences.
Martin Winkler and Virgilio Marino in Opera Australia’s 2018 production of The Nose at the Sydney Opera House.
Expatriate Australian director Barrie Kosky and Shostakovich's modernist opera The Nose seem made for each other. It was sung in an expressive English translation - and the tap-dancing noses brought the house down.
One way to help opera lose its elitist image is to write new ones in regional accents. But can classically trained singers adapt their style?
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We're told VR will let distant audiences experience live shows from the comfort of their living room – but what if no one goes anymore?
Opera is treated differently to other artforms in Australia.
AAP Image/Tracey NearmyAAP Image/Tracey Nearmy
It is a strange reality but opera as an artform is always given special and arguably preferential treatment by governments and other influential forces in Western society. This happens, it seems, regardless…
Anna Dowsley in The Rape of Lucretia: the story is originally recounted in Livy and has been used since as an allegory of civic virtue and Republican zeal.
An austere, crystalline allegorical opera has been reinterpreted for our contemporary age.