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.
Once again Melbourne Opera has proved that it is a company up for a challenge. After successful concert performances of Rienzi, another of Wagner’s operas neglected by local companies in recent times beckoned. A fully staged production of the1861 Paris version of Tannhäuser is a much more daunting task, but members of the creative team had already explored a number of production strategies in their imaginative use of video for Der Freischütz and this experience was put to excellent use for Tannhäuser.
Melbourne Opera makes a quantum leap in scale of production, crossing Collins St to present a majestic, immensely satisfying production of Tannhäuser at the Regent Theatre.
Achieving a synergistic if-you-build-it they-will-come vibe, this second performance of Tannhäuser was extremely well attended, surely coming close to the 1300-strong audience at Sunday’s premiere. The ranks of Melbourne Opera’s followers have clearly been swelled by fellow opera lovers keen to experience Wagner’s epic romantic drama in its first Melbourne appearance in over 20 years.
Melbourne Opera’s terrific new production of Tannhäuser rewards audiences with magnificent music and powerful performances by a cast of over 130 singers and musicians, superbly directed by Suzanne Chaundy.
Chaundy’s Tannhauser for Melbourne Opera a triumph
Melbourne Opera set itself an enormous challenge in staging one of Wagner’s grand romantic operas, Tannhauser, for a debut opera season at the Regent Theatre. The company, which does not receive a government subsidy, chose an opera requiring 14 named singers, a chorus of more than 50, a large orchestra, and a complex production design.
Suzanne Chaundy, a regular Melbourne Opera director, delivered her finest achievement in this production. It had focus, pace and was of compelling quality.
In 1852 Richard Wagner issued instructions to opera houses planning to stage Tannhäuser. It had closed after only four performances when it opened in Dresden in 1845 – conducted by the composer without most of the scenery, delayed in transport – but was now attracting wide attention. His essay (14,309 words in English translation) was typically didactic and punctilious, and he demanded complete adherence to every detail.
Melbourne Opera is a semi-professional company punching well above its weight, mainly due to considerable support from the opera loving public in Melbourne. The idea of a semi-professional company performing Tannhäuser is incredible, yet they triumphed magnificently.
The only concession to the non-professional nature of the over fifty voice chorus, was that they were permitted to sing in English in this German production, but their singing was so lusty and polished no one minded.
Melbourne Opera’s Tannhauser brings together an army of artists, big voices and a clear creative vision
Were many thinking Melbourne Opera was biting off more than it could chew in tackling a fully staged version of Richard Wagner’s grand romantic opera Tannhäuser? To that, taking over the huge Regent Theatre across the road from their usual home at the far smaller Athenaeum? At Sunday’s buzzing opening night, the boots were filled marvellously on both accounts.
Grand, romantic new production a great leap forward for Melbourne Opera
With this expansive new production of Tannhauser, Melbourne Opera takes not just a great leap forward but a hop-skip-and-jump across the road: from its normal cosy home at the Athenaeum to the palatial opulence of the Regent.