Hobart Baroque 2014 – Showcasing Handel’s Opera Orlando

All Australian major cities are located either on a river or harbour, where water provides us with a feeling of ‘surround sound’ and a wonderful setting for the celebration of love and life, especially when you add the magic of music.

Hobart in Tasmania is a city that ‘belies its size’. In the main it remains completely undiscovered by many Australians, although discerning International tourists are making the journey to this lovely isle, which is our southern most state. It is the jewel on the Derwent, and Australia’s other great harbour city.

BOOK NOW if you would like to extend your festive spirit to include the Hobart Baroque Music Festival. It will be held from March 28th to April 5th, 2014.

Hobart Baroque is not restricted by a charter to present only work that emanates from other islands. In 2014 it will showcase artists and musicians from Finland, Spain, the UK, Israel, Greece, Russia, New Zealand and Turkey.

It is truly an international festival.

American soprano Kathryn Lewek, Angelica in Georg Frideric Handel's opera Orlando

Hobart Baroque is devoted to music of the late 17th and early 18th centuries and was founded in 2013.

It is first and foremost about excellent musicians and superbly chosen repertoire stimulating the emotions and provoking very powerful musical images.

Organisers are totally thrilled music lovers all over Australia have been busy booking their trip and tickets since they announced the festival in November to attend the superb and varied early music shows they are presenting.

Jarrod Carland, the festival’s founder and Executive Director noted that the response to the ‘second Hobart Baroque festival so far has been extremely encouraging’. More than 50% of bookings so far have come from outside the Apple isle.

For the future of forward planning this is indeed a wonderful result to date. It will enable organizers to plan for 2015 and beyond with a great deal of optimism and enthusiasm.

Hobart Baroque festival’s co-founder Artistic Director Leo Schofield AO is also chuffed. He and Carland are together carefully plotting Hobart Baroque’s early path, so that it will gradually build a fine reputation for the quality of the music and for the outstanding abilities of the artists they are presenting.

Opening at Hobart’s historic Theatre Royal on 28th March 2014, Orlando by German born London based composer Georg Frideric Händel (1685 – 1759) has an age-appropriate cast in a work that is all about the vagaries of life and ‘youthful folly’.

Kathryn Lewek, the lovely young American soprano who was double prizewinner at the 2013 Operalia World Opera competition, will sing the role of Angelica. This production comes to Tasmania from “…the Glimmerglass Festival in upstate New York and has also been staged at the prestigious Lincoln Centre in New York…said Schofield.

The Glimmerglass Summer Opera festival has a wonderful reputation internationally for innovative productions of both familiar and lesser-known operas.

This production will be its first in Australia.

Erin Helyard will conduct the outstanding Orchestra of the Antipodes, providing a stunning musical accompaniment to this much acclaimed and admired of all Handel’s magical works.

“We’ve assembled a remarkable group of young American singers, to present what I hope will be a special highlight of the Hobart Baroque festival,” says the opera’s director Chas Rader-Shieber.

The outline of the story for Orlando the opera was gleaned from a literary source Orlando Furioso, which was first published in 1516. Handel also used the epic poem as a source for the stories for his operas Alcina and Ariodante. Its moral, an important aspect of operas of this time, is that reason is easily destroyed by love.

Orlando Furioso was a ‘Romanz’ poem written by Italian poet Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) whose work impacted for centuries on European culture. It is perhaps regarded as one of the finest expression of the ‘literary tendencies and spiritual attitudes of the Italian Renaissance’.

Orlando Furioso is an original continuation of the story of Angelica, the first part of which was told in the poem Orlando Innamorato (Orlando in love) by Matteo Maria Boiardo 1440 – 1494).

The cast for Hobart Baroque’s Orlando, first performed in London in 1733, will be sure to mesmerize.

American Countertenor Randall Scotting takes on the challenging role of Orlando.

Scotting is renowned for his rich voice, commanding stage presence, and innate musicality.

Orlando appears, torn between his ordained role as a warring knight and his unrequited love for the princess Angelica, who is the daughter of the King of Cathay.

He spends much of the time wandering about a ‘lush forest’ in a state of madness, because of his love for her.

Angelica is in turn in love with an African prince named Medora, who will be performed by a noted Handelian, the American countertenor Daniel Bubeck.

Orlando cannot accept her choice and is only prevented from bringing about absolute carnage by the caring magical ministrations of stargazer Zoroastro, who restores Orlando’s love sick mind.

The role of Zoroastro will be sung by bass-baritone Tom Corbeil, who is very well known in musical theatre circles in America.

The role of the shepherdess Dorinda will be sung by American soprano Anna Davidson. She has been hailed as a singer “with spirit and remarkable facility”.

Dorinda contemplates the beauty of nature, and yet feels the pangs of love stirring within her. She gives shelter to Angelica and the Moorish soldier Medoro, whom Angelica found near death and brings to her cottage. The complications and the various trials of love that follow are enhanced by the sheer poetry of the visual detail and the characters’ expressive movements.

We’re quite naturally fond Orlando at The Culture Concept Circle. Our logo is a lovely image of Angelica being rescued by Ruggiero (Roger), another aspect of the epic poem.

Handel helped fill the void brought about by the loss of eighteenth century England’s favourite composer Henry Purcell  (1659-1695) who had an early, very tragic demise.

His creative imagination infused Handel’s music with a great sense of heroism and enormous energy.

Handel praised his ‘mighty God’ with music that had both a victorious attitude and commanding power.

He secured the confidence of all the faithful, who simply adored his massive choirs, majestic motets and the incredible richness of a sound that reached a pinnacle in his lifetime.

The Theatre Royal in Hobart is a marvelous choice of venue for Orlando, with a splendid acoustic integral to its original 1834 design.

Saved from demolition several times – most notably in the late 1940s when the late great English actor Sir Laurence Olivier (1907-1989), considered one of the greatest actors of the 20th century, was among the many to leap to its defense – the theatre has withstood a disastrous fire, public criticism and the advancing rigours of age.

This special presentation of the opera Orlando will be a satisfying journey of self-discovery for both artists and audiences who will hopefully but into the magic of the moment and heap praise on the equal merits of love and valour.

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2014




Theatre Royal, Hobart, Tasmania

In collaboration with
The Glimmerglass Summer Opera festival

Images: Orlando
by George Frideric Handel
Glimmerglass Opera

Director: Chas Rader-Shieber
Sets & Costumes: David Zinn
Lighting and photos: Lenore Doxsee

Opening Night: 28th March at 7:30 pm
Also 30th March 2:30 pm, 3rd April 7:30 pm and 5th April 7:30 pm


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