First performed in 1693, Pinchgut Opera sets this baroque opera in the 20th century – with remarkable relevance to today.
Adelaide Festival/Andrew Beveridge
Dr George Ian Ogilvie Duncan was murdered at a gay ‘beat’ in the 1970s. His death was instrumental in South Australia’s decriminalisation of male homosexual acts.
Tony Lewis/Adelaide Festival
Neil Armfield’s production of the Benjamin Britten opera is a triumph of sure-footed direction, subtle vocal shadings, brilliant comic timing and orchestral precision.
A new narration written by Alison Croggon and performed by Eryn Jean Norvill comes together in triumph.
This new production of Farnace overwhelms with delight.
Brett Boardman/Pinchgut Opera
Vivaldi’s Farnace is a masterpiece of 17th century opera, but has been largely forgotten. This new production is the best revival production by Pinchgut Opera yet.
Under director Yaron Lifschitz, this version of Orpheus and Eurydice is interested in exploring the tragedy implicit in this story.
Jade Ferguson/Opera Queensland
This new version of Gluck’s opera, from Opera Queensland and Circa, is raw, physical and confronting. Completely captivating and deeply moving.
Oscar and Lucinda, Sydney Chamber Opera, Carriageworks.
A world premiere performance of a new Australian opera is an exhilarating experience. But the music in this reworking of the Peter Carey novel underwhelmed.
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.
Fernando Guimarâes and Brenton Spiteri in The Return of Ulysses.
If The Return of Ulysses is not Monteverdi’s most inspired creation, it is close to it. And Pinchgut Opera’s premiere may have been the first time this wonderful work was presented professionally in Australia.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Jake Arditti (Nero) in Coronation of Poppea: the production is a haze of drug-fuelled violence, erotic drive, and dog eat dog power plays.
The Monteverdi opera exploring passion in ancient Rome has been transposed to a contemporary gangster setting in a new Sydney production.
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…