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					Media Release – Sydney Season of Opera 2011

Embargoed until Friday 20 August, 2010

                            2011 SYDNEY SUMMER SEASON
                                     MEDIA KIT
Media Release – Sydney Season of Opera 2011

Embargoed until Friday 20 August, 2010

                                        New Year’s Eve
                                      GALA PERFORMANCE
Celebrate the year ahead in style, with the grandest Sydney tradition of all, the spectacular Opera Australia

New Year’s Eve Gala in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House. Jonathan Biggins hosts a

spectacular line-up of true opera stars including Emma Matthews, Jacqueline Mabardi, Rinat Shaham,

Dominica Matthews, Julian Gavin, James Egglestone, Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Andrew Jones. Get a

taste of the best from the summer season and beyond with Andrew Greene conducting the Australian

Opera and Ballet Orchestra, and Opera Australia‟s finest resident and guest artists.

Actor, comedian and writer Jonathan Biggins is compère for a fast-moving show which will include favourite
arias from Carmen, La bohème, Madama Butterfly and many more. The other major event on the program
will be the City of Sydney's own celebrations for New Year's Eve, including the magnificent fireworks and
Harbour Bridge illuminations. Sydney Opera House offers a perfect vantage point, and the audience in
the Concert Hall will have exclusive access to the Northern Foyers to watch the 9pm family firework
display. After the concert the audience is invited to party on into the small hours.

 “The Opera House is the place to be on New Year‟s Eve,” says Andrew Greene. “It‟s not just because you
get a great view of the fireworks. Most of the Summer Season artists have arrived in Sydney for rehearsals
and for them it is a great opportunity to perform their favourite party pieces, just for the love of it, before the
season begins. I cannot think where else you could find such a starry line-up, and I am anticipating there
will be fireworks inside the Concert Hall as well as out!”

Gala ticket holders can also pre-purchase tickets to an exclusive Pre-Gala Dinner and Midnight Party.
The Dinner begins at 5.30pm with drinks followed by three-courses overlooking the harbour in the Northern
Foyers of the Opera House, and finishing just in time for the Gala Concert. The Midnight Party swings into
action after the concert, with food, drinks and dancing to the smooth sounds of the Mell-O-Tones in the
Northern Foyer where a VIP view of the midnight fireworks is guaranteed. There will also be live music from
the six-piece Bob Henderson Band and food and refreshments on sale until 1.30am in the Southern Foyer
and Quayside balcony of the Concert Hall.

             Tickets to New Year's Eve at the Opera House are limited and always sell out.
                Early booking is advised on 02 9318 8200 or

                                                             Rinat Shaham
   CASTING                                                   Dominica Matthews
   Conductor: Andrew Greene                                  Julian Gavin
   Host: Jonathan Biggins                                    James Egglestone
   Featuring:                                                Teddy Tahu Rhodes
   Emma Matthews                                             Andrew Jones
   Jacqueline Mabardi

   With the Australia Opera and Ballet Orchestra

                                PERFORMANCE: 8pm, December 31, 2010

                                              Government Partners
Media Release – Sydney Season of Opera 2011

Embargoed until Friday 20 August, 2010

                                         Puccini Perfection
                             MADAMA BUTTERFLY by Giacomo Puccini

Opera Australia‟s 2011 Summer Season opens with a living work of art when American soprano Patricia

Racette stars in Moffatt Oxenbould’s legendary production of this exquisite Puccini romance.

Madama Butterfly opens on 7 January 2011 at the Sydney Opera House at 7.30pm.

Lieutenant Pinkerton is an American naval officer stationed in Nagasaki. He has rented a house on the hill
overlooking the harbour, and with it comes a wife, Cio-Cio-San. In spite of her family‟s disapproval, she is
keen to marry an American. Their wedding night is bliss, but when Pinkerton‟s tour of duty comes to an end
it is clear he and Cio-Cio-San have different expectations of what will happen next. He is going home to find
a wife and settle down. She is going to wait until he returns, one fine day.

Patricia Racette, who plays Cio-Cio-San, the Madama Butterfly of the title, is one of America‟s favourite
singers and a regular at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and the San Francisco Opera. Her voice is
described as a strong, lyric soprano, and packs a dramatic punch, making it the perfect fit for the great
romantic roles of Puccini and Verdi.

“Puccini is my thing,” says Racette. “It suits me, vocally and dramatically, more than anything I can think of.
I love it.”

In high demand, Racette has performed the role of Cio-Cio-San in Munich, Florence, Chicago, New York,
Los Angeles, San Francisco and many more. Next stop, Sydney.

Australian tenor Rosario La Spina plays Pinkerton. Barry Ryan is his American colleague Sharpless,
while Graeme Macfarlane returns to one of his favourite character roles, the obsequious wedding
arranger, Goro. Jud Arthur is the imposing Bonze, with Samuel Dundas as Yamadori. Jane Parkin is
Pinkerton‟s American wife Kate and Jacqueline Dark is the faithful Suzuki, Cio-Cio-San‟s maid and

The cast changes at the end of January, when Antoinette Halloran takes on the title role with David
Corcoran as Pinkerton and Sian Pendry as Suzuki. Audiences will be familiar with Antoinette Halloran,
who last performed Cio-Cio-San in 2009 and regularly appears on Spicks & Specks. David Corcoran toured
thoroughout Australia with Oz Opera‟s Madame Butterfly in 2009 as Pinkerton. This year he takes the role
to the main stage.

Philippe Auguin returns to conduct the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra with Tom Woods taking
over later in the season. Puccini wrote Madama Butterfly in 1903, after a play by David Belasco, based on
what is believed to be a true story.

Madama Butterfly regularly occupies the No. 1 spot on Opera America‟s list of most-performed works. The
touching story, the quaint exoticism, and the music (including the aria „One Fine Day‟ and the famous
Humming Chorus) make it a perfect place to start for opera newcomers.

Media Release – Sydney Season of Opera 2011

Embargoed until Friday 20 August, 2010


   Conductor                              Cio-Cio-San                      Goro
   Philippe Auguin                        Patricia Racette                 Graeme Macfarlane
   (Until 28 Jan)                         (Until 28 Jan)                   Kate
   Tom Woods                              Antoinette Halloran              Jane Parkin
   Director                               Pinkerton                        Bonze
   Moffatt                                Rosario La Spina                 Jud Arthur
   Oxenbould                               (Until 28 Jan)                  Yamadori
   Set and                                David Corcoran                   Samuel Dundas
   Costume                                Suzuki                           Commissioner
   Designers                              Jacqueline Dark                  Sam Roberts- Smith
   Peter England                          (Until 28 Jan)                   Registrar
   Russell Cohen                          Sian Pendry                      Gregory Brown
   Lighting Designer                      Sharpless
   Robert Bryan                           Barry Ryan

With the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, and the Opera Australia Chorus


Evenings at 7:30pm:
January 7, 11, 14, 17, 19, 22, 25, 28
February 2, 5, 9, 12, 15, 18, 23 and March 3
Matinee at 1pm: 26 February

Performed in Italian with English surtitles.

Running time: two hours and forty-five minutes including one twenty-minute interval.

                                               Production Sponsor

                                         Mazda Summer Season of Opera

                                               Government Partners
Media Release – Sydney Season of Opera 2011

Embargoed until Friday 20 August, 2010

                                         A new star is born
                                         CARMEN by Georges Bizet

Get ready to experience the Carmen the whole world has been talking about when Israeli mezzo Rinat

Shaham makes her Australian debut in Francesca Zambello‟s celebrated production of Carmen. She

appears alongside Julian Gavin as Don José, with Teddy Tahu Rhodes as the toreador, Escamillo.

Carmen opens on 15 January 2011.

Right now, say „Carmen‟ and the opera world says, ‘Rinat Shaham’. This Israeli-born mezzo, with her
striking looks and dark, unruly hair, made her debut in the role to ecstatic reviews at Glyndebourne Festival
Opera in the UK in 2004, and has since performed the role many times across Europe and North America.

Christopher Hoile of Opera News writes: Shaham has the ideal voice for Carmen… lush and velvety in its
lower register, full and gleaming on top. …In the end one felt exhilarated finally to have seen, in Rinat
Shaham, a singer who embodied so completely the beauty, passion and complexity of this iconic character.

Francesca Zambello’s production is an ideal setting for this vibrant artist, vividly evocating heat, dust and
danger, and based on a production for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, with sets and costumes
designed by Tanya McCallin. The Carmen ensemble also shares the stage with a gang of singing urchins,
a star role for the Opera Australia Children‟s Chorus. Julian Gavin plays Don José to Rinat Shaham‟s
Carmen in what should be a potent combination. Later in the season, Rosario La Spina plays Don José
opposite his real-life wife, Milijana Nikolic, as Carmen. Teddy Tahu Rhodes is the glamorous Escamillo,
handing over the role to Shane Lowrencev later in the season, while Hye Seoung Kwon is the innocent
Micaëla. To conduct the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, we welcome Guillaume Tourniaire.

Georges Bizet wrote Carmen in 1873, barely a year before his early death from a heart attack at just 36.
He was never to know how popular his signature work would become. The character of Carmen lives on in
many different guises: there have been films, plays, ballets and musicals based on the original, including
Oscar Hammerstein II‟s Carmen Jones, which recasts the Toreador‟s Song as a boxer‟s song, „Stand up
and fight until you hear the bell…‟ Bizet would have been proud.

Carmen is a gypsy who works in a cigarette factory. She is a wild child, irresistible to men, and always at
the centre of any trouble. When a fight breaks out at the factory she is arrested and put under the guard of
one Don José, a soldier. He is a good man, betrothed to his sweetheart Micaëla back home, but he does
not stand a chance against Carmen. She seduces him into letting her go, then takes him with her to join her
gang of gypsy bandits. Meanwhile, the great Escamillo, a victorious bullfighter, also lays claim to Carmen.
Don José is insanely jealous, Carmen is fatalistic, and it all ends badly.

Media Release – Sydney Season of Opera 2011

Embargoed until Friday 20 August, 2010


Conductor                                Carmen                             Frasquita
Guillaume Tourniaire                     Rinat Shaham                       Amy Wilkinson
(Until 19                                (Until 19 Feb)                     Mercédès
Feb)                                     Milijana Nikolic                   Tania Ferris
Ollivier-Philippe Cunéo                  Don José                           Dancairo
Director                                 Julian Gavin                       Luke Gabbedy
Francesca Zambello                       (Until 19 Feb)                     Remendado
Set &                                    Rosario La Spina                   Kanen Breen
Costume                                  Escamillo                          (Until 19 Feb)
Designer                                 Teddy Tahu Rhodes                  Stephen Smith
Tanya McCallin                           (Until Feb 1)                      Zuniga
Lighting                                 Shane Lowrencev                    Richard Anderson
Designer                                 Micaëla                            Moralès
Paule Constable                          Hyeseoung Kwon                     Andrew Jones
Arthur Pita

With the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Opera Australia Chorus, Opera Australia Children’s
Chorus and Opera Australia Dancers

This production of Carmen is based on the co-production by the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and
Norwegian National Opera, first performed at Covent Garden on 7 December 2006


Evenings at 7:30pm:
January 15, 18, 24
February 1, 8, 11, 16, 19, 22, 24, 26
March 2, 5, 9, 11, 16, 22, 25, 30
Matinees at 1pm: January 22, February 5, March 19

Performed in French with English surtitles.

Running time: Two hours and fifty minutes including one twenty-minute interval.

                                         Mazda Summer Season of Opera

                                              Government Partners
Media Release – Sydney Season of Opera 2011

Embargoed until Friday 20 August, 2010

                                Snippety snap, Figaro’s back!
                                THE BARBER OF SEVILLE by Rossinni

Elijah Moshinksy’s keystone cops production of Rossini‟s comic masterpiece returns with an alluring new

face in the role of Figaro. Italian baritone Giorgio Caoduro is the Barber and Dominica Matthews is

Rosina, and the dynamic Music Director of Pittsburgh Opera and Washington Concert Opera, Antony

Walker, returns to his home town to conduct. The Barber of Seville opens on 4 February 2011.

Giorgio Caoduro is just thirty, but he has a powerful voice which belies his youth. Add to that matinee-idol
looks and he is much in demand. He has already performed lead roles at many of the world's most
important opera houses, and was Plácido Domingo’s choice to replace the legendary Ruggero Raimondi
last year. In 2010, he made his debut at La Scala, Milan, in the role he now brings to Sydney, Rossini‟s
mischievous and charismatic Figaro.

He appears alongside some of Opera Australia‟s most exciting young singers, including Henry Choo
returning as young lover Almaviva and Dominica Matthews as the innocent Rosina, with Warwick Fyfe
reprising the role of scheming Dr Bartolo. Later in the season, José Carbó takes over the central role, with
John Longmuir making his role debut as Almaviva and Andrew Moran playing Dr Bartolo.

Australian conductor Antony Walker continues his meteoric rise through the opera world. He is already
Co-Artistic Director of Pinchgut Opera, and Music Director of Pittsburgh Opera and Washington Concert
Opera, and his debut at New York‟s Metropolitan Opera in 2011 has just been announced. Most recently he
conducted Dido and Aeneas and Acis and Galatea for Opera Australia in 2009. He shares the season with
Opera Australia‟s Assistant Music Director, Anthony Legge. Elijah Moshinsky‟s production, designed by
Michael Yeargan, with costumes by Dona Granata and lighting by Howard Harrison, pays homage to the
silent movie era of Buster Keaton and the Keystone Kops.

The slapstick stage business and 1920s‟ fashions are a fine match for Rossini‟s fast-moving music and
action-packed plot. Figaro is a manservant, barber, procurer and all-round Mr Fixit of Seville. So, when
young nobleman, Almaviva, wants to woo the young and beautiful ward of crusty old Dr Bartolo, he calls in
the professional. Figaro arranges all kinds of intrigues so that Almaviva can meet Rosina. Predictably, they
fall in love, but they cannot get married without Dr Bartolo‟s consent, and he is not about to give it. It‟s time
to call for help again. Figaro!

The Barber of Seville is based on part one of the Figaro trilogy written by Pierre Beaumarchais. His starting
point was the stock characters of Italian commedia dell’arte -- Harlequin, the rascal, Columbine, the
innocent heroine, and Pantalone, the wealthy and libidinous old merchant. All three plays are fundamentally
subversive, satirising the hypocrisy and power of the aristocracy. Unlike Mozart‟s The Marriage of Figaro,
Rossini‟s Barber plays down the more pointed satire, but still has much fun at the expense of the ruling

Media Release – Sydney Season of Opera 2011

Embargoed until Friday 20 August, 2010


Conductor                                                  Dominica Matthews
Antony Walker (Until                                       Almaviva
25 Feb)                                                    Henry Choo
Anthony Legge                                              (Until 19 Mar)
Director                                                   John Longmuir
Elijah Moshinsky                                           Dr Bartolo
Set Designer                                               Warwick Fyfe
Michael Yeargan                                            (Until 25 Feb)
Costume                                                    Andrew Moran
Designer                                                   Basilio
Dona Granata                                               Jud Arthur
Lighting                                                   Fiorello/Ambrogio
Designer                                                   Samuel Dundas
Howard Harrison                                            Berta
Figaro                                                     Teresa La Rocca
Giorgio Caoduro                                            Officer
(Until 21 Feb)                                             David Parkin
José Carbó

With the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and Opera Australia Chorus


Evenings at 7:30pm:
February 4, 10, 14, 17, 21, 25
March 4, 10, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, 29
Matinees at 1pm: February 12, 19

Performed in Italian with English surtitles.

Running time: 2 hours and 50 minutes including one twenty-minute interval.

                                         Mazda Summer Season of Opera

                                               Government Partners
Media Release – Sydney Season of Opera 2011

Embargoed until Friday 20 August, 2010

                                         He says, she says
                                         PARTENOPE by Handel
                                           *new production*

Opera Australia presents the first Australian production of Handel‟s Partenope. Directed by Christopher

Alden, this is a co-production with English National Opera and winner of the 2009 Olivier Award for best

new opera production. Emma Matthews stars in the title role of this baroque comedy that plays havoc with

notions of love, war and gender. Christian Curnyn conducts an outstanding cast . Partenope opens on 12

March 2011.

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) is best known for his „opera seria‟, tales of political power struggles
and deadly love matches. Partenope could have been that – it has the fight over a princess, and the battle
for her kingdom – but Handel turns it into a comedy. Partenope has been largely ignored for 200 years, but
the recent surge in interest in Handel‟s music has brought this quirky, richly-scored work back to the stage
in London and New York. Now it comes to Sydney for the first time.

Partenope has three suitors seeking her hand in marriage. Rosmira has none and, in fact, has just been
jilted by Prince Arsace, who has switched his affections to Partenope. Rosmira decides to fight for her man,
so she presents herself at Partenope‟s court, dressed as a man, and offers to fight a duel with Arsace to
win Partenope‟s hand. Arsace recognises Rosmira in spite of her disguise and decides to force her hand by
agreeing to the duel with one condition: they fight naked from the waist up!

The formidable trio of Emma Matthews, Catherine Carby and Jacqueline Dark star in this battle of the
sexes. Matthews is Partenope, Carby takes the „pants role‟ of Arsace, and Dark is Rosmira, aka
„Eurimene‟, Arsace‟s rival. Kanen Breen and Christopher Field play Emilio and Armindo, Partenope‟s
other suitors with Richard Alexander as Ormonte completing the cast.

British conductor Christian Curnyn is founding director of the Early Opera Company. With them he has
conducted Orlando and Partenope. He recorded Partenope for Chandos Records and conducted this
production in its première season at the English National Opera in 2008.

Director Christopher Alden‟s hyper-real take on Puccini‟s Tosca earned him impassioned responses in
2010. He is back in 2011 with an elegant dip into the surreal as he updates Handel‟s tale of the warrior
queen to Paris of the 1920s.

A grand spiral stairway dominates the set created by New York designer Andrew Lieberman, and the cast
is elegantly attired in designs by Jon Morrell. Lighting is by Adam Silverman. The libretto, originally in
Italian, is in a racy new rhyming translation by award-winning writer Amanda Holden.

Writing in the Sunday Times, opera critic Hugh Canning says: “Alden and his designers Andrew
Lieberman and Jon Morrell, transport the action to a self-consciously sophisticated, art-decoish Paris of
the 1920s, in which the heroine appears as a Nancy Cunard-like salon diva, as photographed by Man
Ray… It works brilliantly because Alden catches the principal characters‟ posey veneer, which he gradually
strips away, exposing their deeper emotions as Handel‟s music takes on darker tones … Not to be missed.”

Media Release – Sydney Season of Opera 2011

Embargoed until Friday 20 August, 2010


Conductor                                                 Partenope
Christian Curnyn                                          Emma Matthews
Director                                                  Rosmira
Christopher Alden                                         Jacqueline Dark
Co-Director                                               Arsace
Peter Littlefield                                         Catherine Carby
Set Designer                                              Armindo
Andrew Lieberman                                          Christopher Field
Costume Designer                                          Emilio
Jon Morrell                                               Kanen Breen
Lighting Designer                                         Ormonte
Adam Silverman                                            Richard Alexander

With the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra

A co-production with English National Opera


Evenings at 7:30pm:
March 12, 15, 18, 23, 28, 31
Matinee at 1pm: March 26

Performed in English with surtitles

Running time: Approximately three hours and thirty minutes including two twenty-minute intervals.

                                         Mazda Summer Season of Opera

                                             Government Partners