Right - Acclaimed Australian baritone Michael Lewis sings the title role in Rigoletto
With Viva Verdi on their lips, lovers of Italian opera will be treated to two of the greatest examples of the genre when Opera Queensland presents the celebrated composer’s masterworks La traviata and Rigoletto as the top and tail of its 2009 Season.
Next year’s season boasts five productions and a major recital, with an Australian première production of Beethoven’s sole opera Fidelio in July as well as two world première productions, Dirty Apple and Waltzing Our Matilda, in the same month.
Three magnificent sopranos Elvira Fatykhova, Emma Matthews and Anke Höppner will grace the Lyric and Conservatorium stages to deliver the roles of Violetta (La traviata), Gilda (Rigoletto) and Leonore (Fidelio), respectively. For Matthews, it will be a role and company debut. Commanding Australian baritone Michael Lewis AM will dazzle audiences with his compelling performance as the scornful jester Rigoletto, a role which has garnered him critical acclaim here and overseas throughout his extensive career.
An exciting youth opera, Dirty Apple, will make its world première in July as part of the Queensland Music Festival and Q150 celebrations. This provocative new work, which deals with the contentious issue of cyber bullying, is a collaboration between Opera Queensland and Backbone Youth Arts. It has been developed by a team of 14 young people (aged between 13 and 18) in conjunction with composer Jonathan Henderson and librettist Shaun Charles, under the direction of Fraser Corfield. The themes of Dirty Apple are relevant to the youth of today and the wider community. The seven-performance season will be staged at the Brisbane Powerhouse Theatre, marking the first time that the company has presented a production at this venue. Co-production partners include Q150, Queensland Music Festival, Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University and Queensland Performing Arts Centre.
Two additional events will complete the season: David Hobson & Teddy Tahu Rhodes in Recital starring two of the hottest names (and bodies) in opera, and Waltzing Our Matilda, a theatrical journey which will take audiences through the wonderful music and history of Queensland to mark the State’s 150th year of independence. Following the two-performance Brisbane season of Waltzing Our Matilda in July, the production will tour regional Queensland in August with performances in centres such as Toowoomba, Maryborough, Gladstone, Biloela, Emerald, Barcaldine, Longreach, Winton, Moranbah, Proserpine, Innisfail, Atherton and Cairns. The tour will be co-presented with the Queensland Arts Council.
“2009 promises our many and varied audiences a veritable feast – an operatic degustation providing dishes for every taste, exploring the human condition in the most appetising ways,” said Chris Mangin, Opera Queensland’s Artistic Director and Chief Executive. “Not only will this musical banquet mine the greats of the opera canon, it will celebrate the State’s 150th anniversary, provide a platform for a world first that draws on the immense talents of our people and the very real strengths of our artists in every respect. With six courses you shouldn’t miss a morsel.”
The year will also be rich in experience for young and old through our education and community outreach programs as well as our unique program for emerging young talent under the directorship of Jason Barry-Smith.
Subscriptions to Opera Queensland’s Season 2009 are now on sale. Phone qtix 136 246. Request a free season brochure by phoning Opera Queensland on 3735 3030 or visit the company’s website at www.operaqueensland.com.au