This image: Dalibor Jenis as Rigoletto
Featured image: Dalibor Jenis as Rigoletto and Irina Lungu as Gilda
Production photography: Prudence Upton

From the opening dramatic chords we know we are in for an emotional roller-coaster ride in this gripping revival of the Elijah Moshinksy production of RIGOLETTO for Opera Australia , first seen in 1991 .

Updated a bit, it is set in Italy in the 1950’s or thereabouts so think Fellini’s ‘La Dolce Vita’ … the land of omerta, hidden secrets, revenge, curses, disguised identities and powerful ( if very restricting ) familial love.

This production is directed by revival director Hugh Halliday and features magnificent leads and arresting chorus performances , while concentrating and accenting its dramatic core . Continue reading OPERA AUSTRALIA’S RIGOLETTO: AN EMOTIONAL ROLLER COASTER


Above : Giorgio Carduro as Enrico and John Longmuir as Arturo with the Opera Australia chorus. Photo: Prudence Upton                                                      Featured image : Jessica Pratt as Lucia and Michael Fabiano as Edgardo. Photo credit: Prudence Upton.

Opera Australia’s current production of the Italian opera Lucia di Lammermoor by Donizetti is a focussed and brooding affair. It is a triumph of the genre’s potential for tension and emotional tortures packaged in a visual, vocal and atmospheric spectacle. This is a co-production with Houston Grand Opera, where it was first performed in 2011, and Teatro La Fenice. The opera is performed in a revival production with hypnotic tableaux and a rich musical interaction between orchestra and powerhouse voices.

It is a dark and dramatically delectable serving up of Donizetti’s streamlined retelling of the grisly tale of feuding Scottish clans and a manipulated female caught in the centre of family machinations. Such ominous themes and tales are taken from Sir Walter Scott’s novel ‘The Bride of Lammermoor’ from 1819. Salvatore Cammarano’s opera libretto was first heard in Donizetti’s work in 1835 and are here chillingly realised on our 2018 stage. Continue reading OPERA AUSTRALIA : LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR @ THE DAME JOAN SUTHERLAND THEATRE


Grammy-award winning coloratura soprano Sumi Jo is returning  to Australia for a series of performances across the country, including a recital at Sydney’s City Recital Hall on July 19.

Sumi Jo is amongst the highest-selling classical artists in the world, with over 50 recordings to date and recent performances for the Pope and at the Winter and Summer Olympics.

Opera lovers will be in for a treat with the concert set to feature an eclectic mix of traditional and contemporary pieces, tango and a hauntingly beautiful folk song from Sumi’s Korean heritage. Sumi will be joined on stage by  Argentine-born baritone José Carbó (Opera Australia), and will be accompanied by popular pianist and conductor Guy Noble.

I had a chance to ask Sumi a few questions before she  embarks on her Australian tour :

Q. Sumi, you are renowned for your interpretations of the bel canto repertoire. This repertoire relates to an Italian way of singing. A South Korean soprano goes on to mastering an Italian way of singing?! How do you feel about this journey? 

A. I like the idea that I learned something from where it has been born. In operatic singing, you have to experience Italy to learn how to sing the Bel Canto way. When I started to sing in Korea, I had a feeling that something was not quite right, even though I was able to sing an entire opera within a few months. What I missed were those elements that were born with the opera, the language, culture and tha way that Italian people live and love. Bel Canto contains not only the technique of vocalising but also all those elements that define the pattern of life that Italian people have. Even though I have sung over 30 years of Italian and other Opera Arias, I’m always learning more. It is an endless learning curve. Continue reading ‘A VOICE FROM ABOVE’ : SUMI JO TO PERFORM AT CITY RECITAL HALL


Above : Esther Song gives a fiery and vocally agile performance as Therese/Teresias. Featured image: ensemble cast in bright costume and set environment. Photo credit : Clare Hawley

Here is a significant event from Con Opera, enabling us to enjoy a rarely heard opera by Poulenc. This colourful romp  celebrates the play by Guillaume Apollinaire and Francis Poulenc’s skill as a composer of vocal music for the stage. The production values are high, resulting in a joyous and visually excellent entertainment.

Les Mamelles de Téresias, set in the fictitious French Riviera location of Zanzibar, was premiered in 1947 with the atrocities of WWII still fresh in the minds of many.

Its themes of change, defiance, ambition, gender equality, challenging the status quo, or rebuilding society with real and symbolic babies were poignant for its time. The approach to such material in this production also makes it keenly relevant to assorted  tensions and urgencies of our modern times. Continue reading CON OPERA : LES MAMELLES DE TERESIAS @ MUSIC WORKSHOP, SYDNEY CONSERVATORIUM OF MUSIC

Fire and Snow at ‘La Boheme’: Handa Opera on the Harbour

After days of torrential rain the clouds parted last night to make way for a love story on, and to, Sydney Harbour.  Cool for the audience and lots of ‘cool daddy cool’ on the stage, we were treated to a new Opera Australia production of Giacomo Puccini‘s LA BOHEME.  Set in France during the student riots of 1968, the stormy relationships of the two pairs of lovers are backgrounded by grassroots rebellion and oppressive crackdowns, all in a freezing winter of global unrest. With fire and snow, Handa Opera on the Harbour passionately immerses us in this evocatively created Paris of Discontent. Continue reading Fire and Snow at ‘La Boheme’: Handa Opera on the Harbour


Above: Warwick Fyfe as Sancho Panza with ensemble members. Featured image: Elena Maximova with cast as Dulcinea (La Belle Dulcinee). Photo credit: Prudence Upton

Massenet’s setting of the Don Quixote tale and legend brings to Sydney a new production for Opera Australia and a unique version of this popular story. Here, themes of the deluded ‘knight’ from La Mancha as an outsider and the fatal pains of love unrequited are brought to the fore in the place of excessive ridicule of the title character. The results are charming, elegant and atmospheric. This opera explores human emotion alongside the comedy. Continue reading DON QUICHOTTE @ THE DAME JOAN SUTHERLAND THEATRE


This image:Ji-Mn Park as Alfredo in Opera Australia’s La Traviata.                                                                Banner Image: Nicole Car as Violetta
Photos: Prudence Upton

Lush ,lavish and opulent this is a superb revival of the glorious 1994 production by Elijah Moshinksy and there was great excitement as it marked Nicole Car’s debut in the role of Violetta.

Shocking and scandalous at the time of its 1853 premiere, the now classic tale of poor Violetta and Alfredo, of Consumption and thwarted true love is based on a Dumas novel. Moshinsky , Yeargan and Hall set it in 1877 – so think bustles rather than crinolines and the start of the ‘Belle Epoque’. Yeargan’s designs are themed around the seasons.  Continue reading OPERA AUSTRALIA LA TRAVIATA


Calling out to all past and present members of Rockdale Opera Company!  [Facebook] The company is seeking photos and memories of past productions from anyone who has shared time with them over the last 70 years.

The memorabilia drive is towards a 70th Anniversary Book as a record of the company’s history.

Hope Sydney Arts Guide’s search can help too.

Send your photos and written memories via email only to


Production photography by Prudence Upton.

Opera Australia’s sophisticated and yet accessible production of Carmen has something for everyone. Opera aficionados who feel they have seen it all will enjoy and appreciate the insightful and adroit directorship of theatre legend John Bell. Opera novices will be entertained by the near musical theatre level of dancing and acrobatics, as well as chuffed to recognise many of the tunes. Continue reading ‘CARMEN’ @ SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE