Danielle De Niese, Michael Fabiano, Jessica Pratt, Leo Nucci & Ferruccio Furlanetto Headline Opera Australia’s 2018 Season

By Francisco Salazar

Opera Australia has announced its 2018 season featuring a number of important debuts and some of the most prestigious singers in the world.

Sydney Summer 2018

The summer season kicks off with Lehár’s “The Merry Widow” featuring Danielle De Niese in her Opera Australia debut. The opera will be Conducted by Vanessa Scammell and directed by Graeme Murphy. Presented at the Joan Sutherland Theatre the opera will open on Dec. 31, 2017, and run through Feb. 3, 2018.

Following will be Bizet’s “Carmen,” conducted by Paolo Carignani and directed by John Bell. Israeli soprano Rinat Shaham reprises the role she made her own at the Handa Opera in Melbourne. Argentine tenor Marcelo Puente will join her in his OA debut in the role of Don Josè. The opera is slated for Feb. 10, 2018, through March 23, 2018.

On Feb. 21, 2018, Barrie Kosky brings his vision for Shostakovich’s “The Nose” is home country. Conducted by Andrea Molino, the production is a co-production with the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. The production marks the opera’s Australian debut and will run through March 3, 2018.

Verdi’s “La Traviata” takes the stage on March 1, 2018, with Nicole Car making her role debut in the role of Violetta. Conductor Andrea Licata leads the orchestra and chorus in Elijah Moshinsky’s production. Russian tenor Vitaliy Bilyy and Ji Min Park round out the stellar cast. Performances run through March 27, 2018.

On March 16, 2018, Massenet’s “Don Quichotte” opens in a revival by Hugh Halliday. The opera is set to star legendary bass Ferruccio Furlanetto whose turn in the title role has become his signature. He’ll be joined by mezzo-soprano Elena Maximova and Guillaume Tourniaire who is conducting. The production closes on March 28, 2018.

Handa Opera on Sydney Harbor 

Puccini’s “La Bohème” makes an appearance at the Sydney Harbor with conductor Brian Castles-Onion in the pit.  Directed by Andy Morton, European sopranos Iulia Maria Dan and Maija Kovalevska lead the cast as Mimì with Ho-Yoon Chung and Paul O’Neill sharing the role of Rodolfo. They will be joined some of Australia’s finest including Julie Lea Goodwin and Samuel Dundas. The production opens on March 23, 2018, and runs through April 22, 2018.

Sydney Winter 2018

Opening the Winter season Jessica Pratt will make her OA debut in one of her signature roles. She will take on Donizetti’s “Lucia di Lammermoor” with superstar Michael Fabiano and conductor Carlo Montanaro. Director John Doyle directs the masterpiece opening on June 28, 2018.

Following Lucia, Leo Nucci brings his signature portrayal as Rigoletto to Australia for the very first time in his OA debut. The Verdi masterpiece will also star Irina Lungu and Gianluca Terranova. Renata Palumbo conducts the production by Roger Hodgman. Later casts will include Dalibor Jenis in the title role and recent Richard Tucker winner Nadine Sierra as his daughter Gilda. The production opens on July 6, 2018 and closes on August 24, 2018.

Verdi’s “Aida” opens on July 18, 2018, with allstars that include Amber Wagner, Natalie Aroyan, Yonghoon Lee, Riccardo Massi, Michael Honeyman, Warwick Fyfe, Diego Torre and Roberto Scandiuzzi. Directed and Choreographed by David Livermore, the opera will be conducted by Andrea Battistoni. The opera runs from July 18, 2018, through August 31, 2018.

On August 10, 2018, Rossini’s “The Turk In Italy” will open with Conductor Andrea Molino, soprano Stacey Alleaume, and director Simon Phillips. The production runs through Sept. 1, 2018.

The season concludes with Brian Howard’s “Metamorphosis” featuring a cast of Australian singers. Conducted by Paul Fitzsimon and directed by Tama Matheson, the opera will be performed between Sept. 26 and 29, 2018.

The season will also include Mazda Opera in the Domain featuring Australia’s finest singers and musicians performing some of opera’s greatest hits. There will also be a regional tour of “Madama Butterfly.”