Opera Australia 2016 Season

Opera Australia 2016 Season – It is always a popular choice, and when it is enhanced by the performances of such glorious singers, it is easy to appreciate its enduring appeal.

Back in 2011, Melbourne had the privilege of hosting the premiere of this production, the first commissioned by new artistic director Lyndon Terracini. It has become a regular summer event at the Sydney Opera House, but this is the first return visit to Melbourne. The caliber of the cast assembled for this comeback season means it’s worth the wait.

Opera Australia 2016 Season

While opera versions of time and place can land with a thud, director Gale Edwards’ masterful vision sees the characters transported from 1830s Paris to early 1930s Berlin. Hidden away in an abandoned mirror tent, the young performers live out their bohemian lifestyle in a seductively decadent, free Liberal city. The presence of a military regiment hints at a bleak future for the city.

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Creating large play spaces, set designer Brian Thomson framed the action within a towering tent of mirrors, whose festive colors quickly faded. Instead of painting a simple canvas, Marcello paints a powerful fresco on the walls of the tent. His interpretation of the parting of the Red Sea provides a dramatic setting for the final act. Instead of pausing for a scene change in the second act, Thomson fakes the interior-to-exterior transition by turning the walls, then makes a breathtaking leap into the sumptuous splendor of the Momus Café.

Julie Lynch’s costumes clearly define the characters, especially the four male friends. Playing Musette, Jane Ede’s tall stature adds extra glamor and glamor to her stunning sequined dresses and blonde Marseille’s elegant wave. Leanna Aruthurian doesn’t go so well with Mimi’s simple dress and simple bob haircut, the overall effect of which matches the character’s sweetness but doesn’t capture the way she caught the viscount’s attention.

Rebirth director Andy Morton makes great use of the space and evokes a sense of fun in the struggling but upbeat performers. The protracted physical argument between Marcello and Musetta in the third act makes sense in light of their artistic temperament. The love story of Mimi and Rodolfo, played by slightly older actors, is more like a discovery of middle-aged love than an expression of youthful passion, but the effect is no less touching. Morton achieves a palpable sense of intimacy and sadness among the six leads in the opera’s tragic final moments.

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Maestro Andrea Molino maintains a soft dynamic in Orchestra Victoria’s performance of Puccini’s evocative, romantic score, allowing woodwind and harp keyphrases to lend a sophisticated flair.

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, and his singing as Rudolph is just as perfect, if not better. Without giving the slightest hint of effort, Terranova smoothly transitions from the mids to the highest notes with the same thunderous tone and carefully controlled power. Starting beautifully with “Che gelida manina”, Terranova provides a breathtaking performance throughout the evening.

Armenian soprano Lianna Haruturyan makes a highly anticipated debut in Melbourne, recalibrating her voluptuous soprano, emphasizing Mimi’s vulnerability with gentle, sultry notes. This contrasts with Aruturian’s Sydney debut in the much more imposing role of Desdemona in

Showcases her skillful range. Haroutourian’s lush vocals pair perfectly with Terranova, and they make a very attractive pair of characters.

The success of this season is largely supported by the excellent work of the other main characters. Hearty Australian baritone Andrew Jones actually plays the role of Marcello in the various seasons of this production, and he brings a sexy, commanding vitality to the stage. Versatile Australian soprano Jane Ede proves to be an excellent choice for Musetta, conveying the character’s vanity, charm, jealousy, passion and tenderness in equal measure, singing “Quando m’en vo” (Musetta’s Waltz) “like a dazzling art song”.

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Continuing the strong Australian presence in the cast, baritone Shane Lawrence provides much-needed frivolity as fantasy Schaunard. Bassist Richard Anderson, mostly hidden under a bushy beard, delivers a touching performance of Collin’s dark aria “Vecchia zimara”.

The excellent cast of this season in Melbourne is a very strong draw. Newcomers to the opera will swoon over the romantic music and plot that contrasts the brutal drama with the ostentatious frivolity of everyday life. This premiere season features an extraordinary pair of lead performances by French soprano Clementine Margaine and South Korean tenor Yonghun Lee.

In his “Director’s Note,” carefully placed on the back of the cast sheet, Bell describes his choice of contemporary Havana: “…probably a corrupt environment for the military and underworld to mingle with those involved in sports.” rackets.” Wheeled luggage and iPhones are among the few deliberately shocking elements that connect the audience to this secluded place, a place where sexist stereotypes are still the accepted norm and superstition abounds.

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There is a musical theater quality to this production, an aspect that certainly makes the opera even more accessible to audiences of all backgrounds. Like the merry townsfolk of a golden age musical, the chorus comes and goes from the dry, crumbling village square of set designer Michael Scott-Mitchell. Teresa Negroponte dresses the bustling crowd in vibrant colors of sunny oranges, purples and greens. Even military uniforms come in different shades of camouflage chic.

Music & Theatre

The presentation of the Lillas Pastia tavern as a crowded street food for hungry nightclub goers makes the second act come alive. However, in the third act, the clandestine nature of the smugglers’ den is significantly undermined by the presence of the entire choir, still in brightly colored club attire. Finally, the choir transforms into appropriate festive daywear as they greet the parade of bullfighters preparing after the bullfight.

Presenting psychological drama in the midst of such constant fun builds tension. Bell portrays the fall of Don José with crisp, believable strokes, continuously showing the influence of Carmen’s hypnotic sexuality on all characters. The descending diagonal steps create a very theatrical setting for most of the key scenes, helping the performers establish a strong bond between their characters and the audience. In particular, half a dozen secondary characters are set with exceptional clarity.

Bell, Negroponte, and choreographer Kelly Abbey perfectly captured the connection between the fiery boys of the children’s choir and the playful Romeos of the adult men’s choir. Four young dancers decorate the children’s stages with energetic street dances. Abby’s invaluable contribution also included moments for a group of mature dancers.

Despite the seductive image of Miljana Nikolic seen on flags, posters and flyers in Sydney, the protagonist of the first part of the season is guest artist Margaine, whose Carmen has been staged at many of the world’s leading opera stages. Being French, Margaine’s expression and diction in this role is of course excellent. The luscious voice of liquid gold pours out with seemingly little effort, filling the space with magnificent sound. Free from the traditional gypsy caricature, Margaine makes Carmen a real, albeit highly sexually charged person, her magnetism trolling the audience as much as it affects the characters on stage.

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This week, Lee was nominated for the Helpmann Award, Lee’s third engagement in Sydney was his most exciting yet. Masterfully wielding his powerful voice, Lee plays with a breathtaking intensity that clearly shows why his star is rising so fast on the world opera stage. A handsomely attractive man with a noble presence of mind, Lee’s determination and skill in portraying Don José’s fall from grace leads to an irresistible tension; the audience can see the coming tragedy while the wistful stage characters remain in the dark

While José’s Flower Aria “La fleur que tu m’avais jetée” may sound exquisite with pianissimo phrases, Lee’s presentation is based on a steely strength that makes it all the more captivating. Carmen’s manipulatively dismissive response: “So you don’t love me?” crushingly disappoints José and determines the couple’s ultimate fate.

Soprano Natalie Aroyan successfully portrays the wide-eyed innocence of the charming young Michaela, playing the role with perfect confidence and a beautiful clean tone. Michaela and José perform in the same duet “Parle-moi de ma mère!” so lavishly romantic that a man and woman seated three rows ahead were seen embracing at the end. The tender joy that José was able to experience with Michaela makes his wild passion for Carmen even more heartbreaking.

Michael Honeyman’s first appearance as Escamillo is hampered not only by his shiny red magician costume, but also by the fact that Bell’s construction of the central story is so convoluted that Escamillo’s opening act in the second act, singing the famous Toreador’s Song, is this time unpleasant distraction. Honeyman has a wonderful voice and his subsequent scenes are more successful. Escamillo’s latest costume, a black emerald green bolero with lace trim over a black waistcoat and trousers, is one of the most dressy evenings.

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Adrien Tamburini’s charismatic bass brings an exhilarating touch to the often underestimated role of Zuniga’s warlord, singing with commanding focus and power. Baritone Christopher Hillier contrasts with the more down-to-earth nature of fellow militia member Morales.

Jane Ede and American mezzo-soprano Margaret Trubiano perform animated performances as friends Carmen Frasquita and Mercedes, strutting precariously in high heels and short club dresses. A couple of experienced

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