Leigh Melrose as Brett Whiteley in Opera Australia’s 2019 production of Whiteley at the Sydney Opera House. The opera focuses on the artist’s addictions and his relationship with his wife.
A new opera focuses more on the personal life of artist Brett Whiteley than his artistic creations. As the opera reveals, a life like Whiteley’s does not offer a clear moral message.
Cio-Cio-San (centre) during a dress rehearsal of Opera Australia’s Madama Butterfly at the Sydney Opera House in Sydney in 2019. Works such as this are attracting criticism from some modern audiences.
Opera companies around the world are grappling with an ever-widening gap between a repertoire frozen in time and an increasingly critical audience.
Juan de Dios Mateos as Cavalier Belfiore and Ruth Iniesta as Corinna in Opera Australia’s 2019 production of Il Viaggio a Reims at Arts Centre Melbourne.
Gioachino Rossini's opera was originally meant as a satire of royalist France. A new production updates the work for a modern audience, setting the drama in a museum where the paintings come to life.
Performers in Speechless, a new opera by composer Cat Hope, co-commissioned by the Perth Festival and Tura New Music. The opera is a response to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2014 report into children in immigration detention.
Despite the exclusion of their creative work from mainstream opera companies, Australian women composers are creating spaces for themselves, writing work that tackles urgent social issues.
Natalie Christie Peluso in The Children’s Bach. The opera is based on Helen Garner’s novella of the same name.
It is rare to have a new production of an Australian opera - a vivid new performance of The Children's Bach was refreshing to see.
A unique production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute is playing at this year’s Perth Festival.
A new production of Mozart's The Magic Flute uses animation to bring the fantastical opera to life.
South African soprano Pretty Yende (L) & Mexican tenor Javier Camarena during a rehearsal of ‘I puritani’ in Spain, 2018.
Realism and addressing pressing contemporary South African societal issues have been the focus of local opera since 1995.
John Longmuir as The Captain, Michael Honeyman as Wozzeck and Richard Anderson as The Doctor in Opera Australia’s production of Wozzeck.
Based on a play by Georg Büchner, Alban Berg's opera Wozzeck brings visions of a tormented fusilier's terror to life through music.
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.