Clapping, stamping and shouting encore is at the heart of revealing whether an opera, the music of love and life, has touched the minds and hearts of its audience. It’s all about enjoying the sweet sounds of society that are vital to our inner well being, with music imparting a rhythmic pulse to daily life.
Great music is essential for inspiring the human spirit and with touring as an important aspect of their program, 2015 is set to be a busy year for the Victorian Opera Company.
The announcement of the renewal of the contract until 2017 for artistic director Richard Mills AM was made the same day as the announcement of its wide ranging and very diverse program to be presented in 2015.
Victorian Opera is expanding its reach, with a focus on showcasing master students of opera. Ten Productions make up the tenth anniversary season – 2015. “It will be a landmark year” Mills noted, “… the season embodies our unique spirit as a company, while extending the boundaries of the art form”, Mills said.
There will be a free performance of Opera for the Earth during the global ‘lights out’ initiative Earth Hour and a special treat on Mother’s Day – Heart and Soul, presented in partnership with Arts Centre Melbourne and the Australian Philharmonic Orchestra.
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It will feature the extraordinary voice of outstanding European based Australian soprano Jessica Pratt.
A huge hit in the Victorian Opera production of La Traviata in 2014 Jessica will return back home for the Bellini extravaganza I Puritani. This will also showcase the remarkable voice of Spanish tenor Celso Albelo, a master of the repertoire.
The final installment of Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, the musical thriller, starring the man who makes everyone’s heart stir Teddy Tahu Rhodes.
Directed by Stuart Maunder, with Phoebe Briggs conducting, it will also feature favourite Antoinette Halloran as Mrs. Lovett.
This will bring to a close the Sondheim trilogy, which has been so successful for the company.
There will be a welcome return of Opera to St Kilda’s Palais with The Flying Dutchman, presented in partnership with the Australian Youth Orchestra.
Roger Hodgman will direct the show featuring renowned Wagner singers Vitalij Kowaljow and Petra Lang. Deakin Motion Lab also join the team to provide state-of-the-art 3D digital scenery.
Victorian Opera will present a tribute to the men and women of the Anzac tradition with their Remembrance event, featuring songs and poetry 1914-1918.
There will be a special focus on Victorians at war, with material supplied by Museum Victoria, the National Library of Australia and the National War Memorial.
Seven Deadly Sins will showcase the talents of Melbourne’s cabaret legend Meow Meow.
She is critically acclaimed for her successful mix of drag, chanson and performance art.
Cabaret emerged during the nineteenth century from the French atmosphere of intimacy to become deeply decadent as time went on. A Cabaret eventually became an offbeat place, one where most people felt they did not have to stick to the usual rules of society and many of whom openly defied sexual norms.
Freedom was paramount. You could drink, smoke eat and leave your hats on and your troubles outside the door as you observed a performance containing music, comedy, dance, recitation or drama, designed to please the toughest hard drinking patrons.
Today the ‘Cabaret’ has been revived again as a style of entertainment, full of fashionable associations, glamour and ‘adult’ themes.
Cabaret is normally enjoyed by adults only, although it remains to be seen if Victorian Opera will ban children under 15 from their performances, which is not usual.
Families however haven’t been forgotten.
There will be a colourful Tenth Birthday concert, marking the return of Victorian Opera’s popular family package; arias, costumes and characters will be sure to capture the imagination of all younger operagoers.
The Grumpiest Boy in the World from a story by Finnegan Kruckemeyer and composer Joe Twist should prove a great hit with the kids.
An enchanting tale of a seven year old who travels to places where giants and hairy creatures are de riguer, should prove enticing, especially when performed by the Victorian Youth Opera, a group of aspiring singers aged 13 – 25, gleaned from all over Victoria.
There will also be a new take on a classic with Alice’s Adventures in Operaland, which is being especially produced as an introduction to Opera, for schools and younger audiences.
Great voices reflect all that is good about Australia, its music, its life and its culture today, especially when they are compelling, captivating and exhilarating.
Creativity is the most politically important concept we have today, contributing to the growth of Australia and its economy. All in all 2015 sounds like a great year to celebrate and enjoy an opera affair with the Victorian Opera.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2015