Opera Australia has announced its 2022 season which will offer New Zealand audiences the opportunity to see some world class opera productions without having to get to Europe.
Hopefully fully vaccinated, Covid passport carrying New Zealanders will even be able to make it to one of the company’s first productions which will open on New Year’s Eve. Audiences will have a choice of two major production, one at the Sydney Opera House, the other on Cockatoo island in Sydney Harbour.
At Sydney Opera House’s Joan Sutherland Theatre will be a revival of Gale Edwards’s production of Puccini’s La Boheme set in 1930s Germany which first premiered in 2011. Tickets are from $250 as well as the pre-performance dinner at $399 or entry to the post performance Midnight Party ($349). There is also the Platinum Package at $1,422 which includes the performance, Pre-performance dinner and midnight party.
The really big show will be the Opera Gala on Cockatoo Island which will feature some of the country’s finest performers for a two-hour concert of opera classics with singers including Stacey Alleaume, Natalie Aroyan, Chanyang Choi, Diego Torre and Luke Gabbedy. Tickets include pre-booked ferry transfers and a ticket to the performance with the option of adding a 3-course pre-performance dinner ($499), interval drinks and the post-show midnight party ($419).
With both shows the interval will be timed to coincide with the 9pm fireworks display on Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The La Boheme production will feature Italian soprano Valeria Sepe playing Mimi with Australian-Chinese tenor Kang Wang as Rodolfo.
In January Graeme Murphy’s production of Puccini’s Turandot will feature American soprano Lise Lindstrom sharing the role with Australian rising star Anna-Louise Cole, alongside tenor Yonghoon Lee and soprano Karah Son, both from South Korea.
Sir David McVicar’s acclaimed production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro opens at the end of January with Italian baritones Mario Cassi as the Count and Tommaso Barea as Figaro, alongside Russian soprano Ekaterina Morozova as the Countess and Australia’s Stacey Alleaume as Susanna.
February will see Harry Kupfer’s production of Verdi’s Otella which was originally going to be staged this year. It will feature Yonghoon Lee as Otello, Karah Son as Desdemona and Italian baritone Marco Vratogna as Iago,
In March, comes a co-produced with Opéra de Lyon of Fromental Halévy’s La Juive. The work premiered in 1835 and is the story of an impossible love between a Christian man (Diego Torre, )and a Jewish woman (Natalie Aroyan). This production which is set in the 1930’s has been seen as a plea for religious tolerance as well as having contemporary connections to The Holocaust.
Also in March there will be a concert version of Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda – its first ever, with Russian soprano Olga Peretyatko, Romanian soprano Carmen Topciu and Shanul Sharma.
Then In June there will with Graeme Murphy’s Madama Butterfly South Korean soprano Sae-Kyung Rim will play Cio-Cio San, with South Korean mezzo-soprano Chanyang Choi as Suzuki and Italian tenor Ivan Magrì as Pinkerton.
July sees a new digital production of Verdi’s Il Trovatore, directed by Davide Livermore, who has previously produced Aida and Anna Bolena using LED screens. Yonghoon Lee plays Manrico, with Leah Crocetto as Leonora, Elena Gabouri as Azucena and Belarussian baritone Maksim Aniskin making his debut as the Count di Luna.
October brings Verdi’s Attila with Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov. The company will be hoping for this being third time lucky. The production premiered in March 2020 but had to close after two performances. Rescheduled in 2021, another Covid lockdown saw it being postponed again.
For a month from March 25th the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour will be a new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s blockbuster musical The Phantom of the Opera, directed by Simon Phillips.
There will also be Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Phantom which will be on at the Sydney Opera House from August 19 and at the Arts Centre Melbourne from October 30.
The 2022 season also includes Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella which will be on at Sydney’s Lyric Theatre in October. There is also a new outdoor event called Opera on Cockatoo Island, for which Liesel Badorrek will create a new production of Carmen, custom-built for the site.
The Melbourne Autumn Season opens in May with Elijah Moshinsky’s production of La Traviata and Olivier Py’s production of Wagner’s Lohengrin
The Melbourne Autumn Season also includes a concert version of Boito’s Mefistofele, conducted by Andrea Battistoni and directed by Matthew Barclay, with Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto as Mefistofele, Diego Torre as Faust and American soprano Leah Crocetto as Margherita.