Melbourne Opera prides itself on its commitment to producing high quality, accessible performances for the benefit of audiences and performers.
With an ensemble of dedicated performers and administrators, we aim to provide opera of the highest standard to audiences of all ages and backgrounds at affordable prices.
Melbourne Opera’s 2016 season was launched with Suzanne Chaundy’s inventive transposition of Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail into a 1970’s context. The practice of updating the social context of standard repertoire has led to some bizarre and wrong-headed convolutions that appear to show scant regard for the libretto or the needs of the singers. Chaundy’s interpretation, however, worked remarkably well and was one of the more convincing and better thought out examples Melbourne audiences have seen of late, either live or “live in HD”.
Presented as a 1970s spy romp, Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio is an amusing evening of beautiful music.
Mozart’s rarely seen opera, written mid-career on the cusp of his premium opera period, features lovely melodies that are simply there to be enjoyed. Conductor Greg Hocking leads a nimble, assured performance by Melbourne Opera Orchestra. The fine playing of many players is exposed in the score’s generous smattering of solo passages.
Seraglio is one of Mozart’s lesser-known works and is a throwback to earlier times with few roles, lots of arias and few ensembles. So the spotlight is fully on the soloists, and Eddie Muliaumaseli’i impressed in the low bass role of Osmin. His voice was big and beautiful and all the low notes were there.
Donizetti’s 1835 opera, Maria Stuarda, is no Wolf Hall. Unlike the Booker-winning blockbuster, it puts the dynastic and doctrinal conflicts between Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth 1 safely into the background and introduces a fictional love triangle as a more politically acceptable focus for their conflict.
Once upon a time Gaetano Donizetti’s Mary Stuart (Maria Stuarda) was banned. In 1835, the blistering confrontation between Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart was considered too appalling to be allowed and Milan deemed it unsuitable for public consumption. Perhaps that’s why this English translation is so much fun today.
At the moment Melbourne has an embarrassment of operatic riches. Thirty years ago we had the Australian Opera, Victorian State Opera and an occasional amateur performance. Now we still have Opera Australia, Victorian Opera, which emerged from the ashes of the VSO, and several semi-professional companies providing lots of work and doing exciting productions.
Melbourne Opera, based at the Athenaeum Theatre, broke away from CitiOpera and, as a point of difference, perform exclusively in English. Many roles were shared in early productions with varying degrees of success.
It's a rare occasion that we get to roll out the red carpet for a royal visit to the Music Makers studio. Not one, but two Queens join us this week: Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Elisabeth I, the central characters in Donizetti's bel canto tragedy Maria Stuarda (Mary Stuart).
Amongst the seventy works composed by Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848), only three, The Elixir of Love, Don Pasquale, and Lucia Di Lammermoor were regularly performed in the first half of the twentieth century, and the most popular of these, Lucia, was often presented in truncated form.