The Baroque opera company, the Pinchgut Opera founded in Sydney in 2002 and now under the auspices of Opera Australia, is like a force of nature, rendering the sounds of glorious early music in tune with life.
It has announced its program 2019, two operas, two concerts and performances to be held in Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne. This follows on the successful visit to Melbourne last year, for a one off jaw-dropping performance of the music of friends by sensational American mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux.
The 2019 multi-layered season for the Pinchgut Opera will feature internationally celebrated artists, who will be presenting outstanding operatic masterpieces from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries when contemporary composers in Europe were able to convert drama and religion into sounds of unparalleled intensity
Presented on consecutive nights, the Pinchgut Opera begins its 2019 season at the Melbourne Recital Centre on 6 April and will perform in Sydney the following night at City Recital Hall on 7 April.
It will present a concert of the sacred Easter Oratorio by Johann Sebastian Bach, together with the Thunder Ode by Georg Philipp Telemann.
The two were friends in life so it seems very fitting when the works are all about celebrating life past and present.
The music of each age finds expression in its cultural and social life, because it is the language of the heart and soul. It is also the means of expressing actions and experiences that take place within and without.
J.S. Bach’s Easter Oratorio, an opera without action, features an edifying story line about heroes of faith. Rarely performed, it is one of his most beloved of sacred works.
Composed in Leipzig and first performed in 1725, the Oster-Oratorium BWV249, is festively scored for three trumpets, timpani, two oboes, oboe d’amore, bassoon, two recorders, transverse flute, two violins, viola and continuo plus four voice parts.
Each work will be in the original one-to-a-part settings their composers envisaged. Soprano Alexandra Oomens, mezzo-soprano Anna Dowsley, tenor Richard Butler, and baritone David Greco will be conducted by Pinchgut Opera Artistic Director Erin Helyard, from the harpsichord.
Bach’s Easter Oratorio underwent a number of revisions, when it was presented first, as he gave it a ‘meditative emphasis’, in which the expression of human emotional responses to the Resurrection of Jesus, the Christ, is paramount.
Telemann’s Thunder Ode considered one of his greatest masterpieces, has never been performed in Australia before. It calls forth the natural elements to celebrate the power of creation: a true showcase for the period Orchestra of the Antipodes
Written in response to a catastrophic earthquake that destroyed Lisbon in 1755, Thunder Ode remembers and celebrates the lives of the 60,000 people who were killed. The Ode is ‘a paean to God as both creator and destroyer’.
Erin Helyard describes 2019 as “a special year for both Pinchgut Opera and myself, as we move together into a new phase of expanded musical activities on a voyage of discovery and delight”…continuing “… we begin our 2019 season with an evening of jubilation, elegance, and beauty… collaborating with these supremely talented Australian artists to bring you an evening of ravishing music-making” he said.
In June, Pinchgut Opera will present Claudio Monteverdi’s final opera The Return of Ulysses, while in August, internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning counter-tenor Valer Barna-Sabadus will perform in Australia for the first time for one night only.
In December it will stage the much-beloved Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi’s favourite opera, Farnace and so you can see, for early music and Baroque music fans like me, there is a lot to look forward to.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2019
• CONDUCTOR Erin Helyard
• SOPRANO Alexandra Oomens
• MEZZO-SOPRANO Anna Dowsley
• TENOR Richard Butler
• BARITONE David Greco
• BASS Andrew O’Connor
MELBOURNE RECITAL CENTRE | Sat 6 April 7pm
CITY RECITAL HALL, SYDNEY | Sun 7 April 5pm