A look back at what made Melbourne Opera what it is today
Our 2018 season commences with a production of Richard Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde in the Palais Theatre, St Kilda in February. This will be followed by Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier in August and Gioachino Rossini’s Otello in October.
Our 2017 season commences with a production of Gilbert and Sulivan’s HMS Pinafore in the Athenaeum Theatre in March. Our 2017 season will also see Melbourne Opera return to the Regent theatre to stage Wagner’s Lohengrin from 7 August. The third installment of MO’s further Donizetti Tudor trilogy, Roberto Devereux will come to the Athenaeum from 11 November, starring Rosamund Illing as Queen Elizabeth 1. It should be an exciting time.
Our 2016 season commences with a production of W F Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio in the Athenaeum Theatre in February and later at Monash University. In August we will move from the Athenaeum to the Regent for a new production of Wagner’s magnificent Tannhäuser. This will be followed by the Australian premier of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena in November.
Our 2015 season commenced with a stunning new production of Carl Maria von Weber’s Der Freischütz, not previously perfomed in Melbourne since 1969 when it was performed by the original Victorian Opera Company. This was followed by Rossini’s Barber of Seville in June/July, and Donizetti’s Mary Stuart (Maria Stuarda) in September which was received with great acclaim.
Our 2014 season commenced with a second performance of Wagner’s Rienzi due to the interest generated by it’s Australian premier in 2013. This was followed by Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and an exciting new production of Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, both in The Athenaeum and Monash’s Alexander Theatre.
Our 2013 season commenced with a new production of Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, in February / March in the Athenaeum Theatre and Alexander Theatre, Monash University. This was followed by a tour of of Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow in March / April. There was a Verdi Gala in August, a tour of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte in August / November, and Verdi’s La Traviata September/October in the Athenaeum Theatre and Alexander Theatre, Monash University. Finally, we were excited to present the Australian premier of Wagner’s Rienzi as part of the Melbourne Ring Festival on December 8th.
Our 2012 season comenced with two performances of Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow under the stars in Februrary. This was followed by Puccini’s La Boheme which opened 3rd March in the Athenaeum, Melbourne for five shows and another at Monash Uni’s Robert Blackwood Hall. A regional season of Bizet’s Carmen commenced in June with Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte following in July in the Athenaeum, Melbourne.
Our 2011 season commenced with our new production of Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow which opened on 10th March in Melbourne’s Athenaeum theatre, to glowing reviews. Five shows in the Athenaeum were followed by Monash University’s Alexander Theatre and regional tour to Wangarrata and Canberra. This was followed by Gounod’s Faust which opened in June in the Athenaeum for 4 shows and Alexander Theatre, Monash University. A new production of Bizet’s Carmen opened October in the Athenaeum for 6 shows and Robert Blackwood Hall, Monash University.
Our 2010 season commenced with a return of our acclaimed Rossini’s The Barber of Seville which opened on 19th March in Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre for six shows and was followed by a regional tour to Warrnambool, Wangaratta, Benalla, Canberra and finishing with Monash University’s Alexander Theatre. Next was a double bill production of Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci, which opened in September at the Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne and finished with Monash University’s Alexander Theatre. The year concluded with Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in November.
Our 2009 season commenced with Verdi’s La Traviata opening 21st March in the Athenaeum, Melbourne with regional tours to Canberra, Hobart and Warrnambool. This was followed by Puccini’s Tosca starring Antoinette Halloran, Jason Wasley, Danielle Calder, Adrian McEniery, Gary Rowley and Lucas de Jong and opening 30th September at the Athenaeum Theatre, Melbourne.
Our Season 2008 consisted of Puccini’s La Boheme, with a season in Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre in March, followed by regional tours to Canberra, Hobart, Launceston, Benalla, and Warrnambool during April-June; Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, starting with a season in Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre in June, followed by regional tours to Canberra, Hobart, Launceston, and regional Victoria during July; and finishing 2008 with Bellini’s I Puritani in October, described by John Slavin in The Age as one of the stand-out musical events of the year.
Melbourne Opera’s 2007 season consisted of a return of our acclaimed Madama Butterfly, with a season in Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne and tours to Plenty Ranges, Geelong, Benalla and Theatre Royal, Hobart, a season of Bizet’s exciting Carmen, in the Atheneaum Theatre and a tour to Warrnambool, a double bill of Cavalleria Rusticana & Suor Angelica, and Rossini’s The Italian Girl in Algiers both in the Atheneaum Theatre. Our scintillating production of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville opened the Castlemaine Arts Festival and finished the year with performances at Mansfield Performing Arts Centre and Theatre Royal, Hobart.
Melbourne Opera’s 2006 season included the largest tour of full-scale opera ever mounted in Victoria. Our production of Don Giovanni was presented in Ballaarat, Benalla, Frankston, Geelong, Hobart, Plenty Ranges, Sale, Warrnambool, the Theatre Royal, Hobart and Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts. The season also included a baroque masterwork; the return of Don Giovanni to Melbourne by public demand; a scintillating city production of Rossini’s delicious and evergreen The Barber of Seville; and a revival of Madama Butterfly played to sellout houses in Yarram and Mansfield.
Our production of Madama Butterfly opened the Castlemaine State Festival, where we also presented the world premiere of Melbourne composer Dennis Vaughan’s The Tell-tale Heart, after the tale by Edgar Allan Poe. The season was rounded out by new productions of Don Giovanni at the Athenaeum and a sparkling Die Fledermaus at Her Majesty’s Theatre.
Melbourne Opera’s 2004 season was nominated for ten Green Room Awards including two out of the three nominations for Best Production (Opera). The season opened with Madama Butterfly at Her Majesty’s Theatre, followed by Rigoletto at the Maj conducted by Armando Krieger, and Mozart’s delicious Cosi fan Tutte at the Athenaeum.
Melbourne Opera’s inaugural season comprised La Traviata directed by Blair Edgar, a new production of Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers using Bizet’s restored 1863 score, and Mozart’s The Magic Flute, whose director Caroline Stacey was nominated for a Green Room award for Best Direction (Opera).