David Butt Philip, Hiromi Omura & Jessica Pratt Lead Opera Australia’s Melbourne 2020 Season

By Nicole Kuchta

Opera Australia has announced its 2020 Melbourne program, which will include staged operas, concert performances, and musicals.


Graeme Murphy will direct an “innovative and visually stunning” new production of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly.” It will showcase how “the digital screens can be used to enhance the storytelling and opera experience,” says Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini in the press release. Japanese soprano Hiromi Omura will star as Cio-Cio-San, alongside Sian Sharp as Suzuki and Andeka Gorrotxategi as Pinkerton. Pier Giorgio Morandi will conduct. Performances will be held at Arts Centre Melbourne.

Performance Dates: May 6 – 28, 2020

Oliver Py’s production of Wagner’s “Lohengrin” sets the story in the “ruins of Berlin in the aftermath of World War II, using a monumental revolving tiered set to depict a decaying theatre where emblems of German Romanticism gather dust.” Tenor David Butt Philip and soprano Jennifer Davis are set to star as Lohengrin and Elsa. Johannes Fritzsch will conduct.

Performance Dates: May 16 – 29, 2020

A co-production with Teatro alla Scala, Davide Livermore will direct Verdi’s “Attila.” The production “fuses video projections with colossal set pieces to create an awe-inspiring world.” The cast will feature bass Taras Berezhansky in the title role, soprano Anna Pirozzi as Odabella, tenor Giuseppe Gipali as Foresto, and baritone Vladimir Stoyanov as Ezio. Renato Palumbo will conduct.

Performance Dates: May 25 – 30, 2020

Tabatha McFadden returns to Opera Australia to direct Andrew Ford and Sue Smith’s chamber opera “Rembrandt’s Wife.” Richard Anderson will star as Rembrandt, with Taryn Fiebig as Saskia / Hendrickje. They will be joined by Agnes Sarkis and Benjamin Rasheed, and Warwick Stengards will conduct. Performances will be held at the Coopers Malthouse Merlyn Theatre in Southbank.

Performance Dates: Sept. 23 – 26, 2020


Carlo Montanaro will conduct a concert performance of Donizetti’s “Lucrezia Borgia.” Jessica Pratt will be featured, along with Varduhi Abrahamyan as Maffio Orsini, Giuseppe Gipali as Gennaro, Michael Honeyman as Duke Alfonso, and Virgilio Marino as Rustighello.

Performance Date: Oct. 13, 2019

During Opera Australia’s free event “Mazda Opera in the Bowl,” held at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, guests will be able to enjoy “opera under the stars” with friends and family.

Performance Date: Nov. 30, 2019

Also held at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Opera Australia and Anthony Pratt’s “Opera for the People” will “bring together some of Australia’s best singers along with Orchestra Victoria and a secret special guest for an evening of exhilarating performances of opera’s best known arias.” Featured performers will include Eva Kong, Angela Hogan, Arnold Rawls, and Simon Meadows. Brian Castles-Onion will conduct.

Performance Date: Feb. 1, 2020


Andrew Ross will direct the 30th anniversary revival of Jimmy Chi and Kuckles’ musical “Bran Nue Dae,” described as a “‘beacon of light’ in Aboriginal and Australian culture.” Performances will be held at the Comedy Theatre. Casting details are TBA.

Performance Date: Jun. 11 – Jul. 12, 2020

Fiddler on the Roof,” directed by Joel Grey, will be performed entirely in Yiddish at the Comedy Theatre. Casting details are TBA.

Performance Dates: Nov. 12 – Dec. 20, 2020

National Tour

Matthew Barclay will make his directorial debut with Bizet’s “Carmen.” Part of Opera Australia’s 25th Anniversary Tour, the production will feature a Regional Children’s Chorus from each of the communities where performances will be held. Casting details are TBA.

Performance Dates: Jul. 17 – Sept. 14, 2020

Brisbane 2020

In partnership with the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council, Shi-Zheng Chen will direct Wagner’s Ring Cycle. The cast will include Vitalij Kowaljow as Wotan / Wanderer, Allison Oakes as Brunnhilde, Stefan Vinke as Siegfried, Warwick Fyfe as Alberich, Andreas Conrad as Mime, Rosario La Spina as Siegmund, Anna-Louise Cole as Sieglinde, Daniel Sumegi as Fasolt / Hagen, Luke Gabbedy as Gunther, Maija Kovalevska as Gutrune, John Longmuir as Loge, Jacqueline Dark as Fricka, Donald Thomson as Fafner / Hunding, Michael Honeyman as Donner, Dean Bassett as Froh, Mariana Hong as Freia / Helmwige, Liane Keegan as Erda, Eva Kong as Woglinde, Jane Ede as Wellgunde / Gerhilde, Dominica Matthews as Flosshilde / Schwertleite, Olivia Cranwell as Ortlinde / Third Norn, Deborah Humble as Waltraute, Sian Sharp as Rossweise / Second Norn, Ileana Rinaldi as Siegrune, Angela Hogan as Grimgerde / First Norn, ad Stacey Alleaume as Woodbird. Philippe Auguin will conduct. Performances will be held at the Lyric Theatre, Queensland Performing Arts Center.

Performance Dates: Nov. 10 – Dec. 5, 2020

Davide Livermore will direct Verdi’s “Aida,” which will feature “Opera Australia’s integrated digital technologies” and costumes designed by Gianluca Falaschi. Natalie Aroyan will star in the title role, alongside Elena Gabouri as Amneris, Diego Torre as Radames, Amartuvshin Enkhbat as Amonasro, Roberto Scandiuzzi as Ramfis, Conal Coad as The King, and Dean Bassett as Messenger. Francesco Lanzilotta will conduct.

Performance Dates: Nov. 17 – Dec. 4, 2020