BTG to cover Opera Australia 2019 season

Published: 5 April 2019
Reporter: Colin Davison

The Jets of West Side Story Credit: Matthew Murphy, Opera Australia

It’s 60 years since a band of redundant singers went on the road with flimsy scenery and pianist Georg Tintner to bring opera to regional capitals in Australia.

Since then, what was clumsily known as The Elizabethan Theatre Trust Opera Company has developed into Opera Australia, one of the world’s première houses, attracting along the way stars such as Tito Gobbi and Joan Sutherland, and more recently known for its live and filmed recordings.

Now, for the first time, British Theatre Guide will cover OA’s entire 2019 opera season which opens in Melbourne with West Side Story this month and continues with Rigoletto by Verdi, Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte and Rossini’s classic comedy Il Viaggio a Rheims.

West Side Story is actually one of two simultaneous OA productions of Bernstein’s masterpiece, the other playing at Sydney Harbour, with this touring version by American director Joey McKneely taking a more traditional approach.

Rigoletto will be a revival of the great production by Elijah Moshinsky, whose Russian Jewish parents fled via Shanghai to Melbourne when he was five. Cosi was the third of the Mozart / Da Ponte operas that British director David McVicar developed for OA in 2016, setting it in the period just before WWI changed the world forever.

Il Viaggio has never previously been seen on stage in Australia, largely because of its expensive production demands, and comes as a joint Dutch and Danish venture directed by Damiano Michieletto.