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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WA Opera: 2013 Season


The West Australian Opera Company recently announced their schedule for 2013.  After this years hugely successful production of Richard Strauss' Elektra, still considered a risky venture box office wise, next year they are headed back to a safe repertoire to guarantee bums on seats.

While I can understand this decision purely from a fiscal point of view, the mere fact that Elektra was a complete artistic and box office success says to me that Perth operatic audiences are more than ready to try something a little more left of field.

2012 was the ‘Year of the Diva’ and in 2013 the theme continues with the ‘Year of the Divo’.  It’s a great marketing ploy backed up by an attractive brochure with equally attractive male models for each opera and it doesn’t take much to realise the markets this is directed towards. 

Am I being too picky however to think that Traviata would have been better served as part of this years ‘Diva’ year and Pearlfishers as part of next years 'Divo’?  Just putting it out there.

The 2013 line up is as follows:

February: Rigoletto – Opera in the Park
April: La Traviata
July: Don Giovanni
October/November: La Boheme

As always with WA Opera, the cast and company lists are an excellent mix of local, national and international talent.  Singers like Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Rachelle Durkin, Rosario La Spina, Katja Webb, Garrett Sorenson and James Clayton take to the stage at His Majesty’s and Supreme Court Gardens once again and Joseph Colaneri returns to take up his post as Artistic Director.

Katja Webb appears as the heroine in three of the operas next year, as Gilda, Violetta and Donna Elvira, continuing her success as one of Australia’s emerging coloratura talents.  Rachelle Durkin, much loved by local audiences will perform Musetta in Puccini’s La Boheme.'

Teddy Tahu Rhodes headlines our Divos as Mozart's eternal seducer with James Clayton taking the other seminal baritone roles in all but La Traviata.  Clayton continues from strength to strength and is always a joy to watch and hear.  I'm looking forward to his Rigoletto and Leporello immensely.

All productions being presented next year have been seen in Western Australia before.  While I welcome the return of Goran Jarvefelt’s production of Don Giovanni and the much loved La Traviata by Elijah Moshinksy, I find little to get excited about the La Boheme of Simon Phillips, which suffers from one of the most pointless ‘modern updates’ to an opera I have witnessed.  At least the cast is interesting.

2013 also sees the bicentennial years of both Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner and while Verdi is more than generously represented here, it appears that Wagner is still considered too much of a challenge for Perth audiences. His operas are performed here all too rarely, I suspect due to the current lack of Wagnerian voices in Australia.

General Manager, Carolyn Chard recently announced a new co-production with Cape Town Opera and New Zealand Opera of Verdi's Otello, slated to be staged in Perth in 2014.  This is an exciting venture for all concerned and a definite coup for Ms Chard and her wonderful company.

For more information go to the Company's website, or even better, 'like' them on Facebook for regular updates.  But do yourself a favour and pick up one of their sensational new season brochures, they are lushly presented and should be collectors items, especially with the accompanying postcards released for each opera.

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