Saturday, September 12, 2009

OA 2010






Next Season at Opera Australia, that's in Sydney, Sydney and Melbourne, despite the national title, has been hailed as "Opera's flagship setting sail on a bold new course". That may be the case, and I hope it is, but I'm not convinced the evidence is in next year's programming per se. It is the structural changes at the top of the organisation to which it refers: Switkowski is in, Danziger is out, Tony Legge (ex Director of Opera at the Royal Academy of Music and ex Head of Music at English National Opera) is in, and Lyndon Terracini is in.

And no Richard Hickox. The venom that preceded and even followed his death stills makes me unsettled. The debate may have been worthwhile but the ill will it uncovered was as unexpected as it was shocking I think. In the shake up which followed, the Company went to great lengths to be up front about its restructuring and suggested 3 models for Artistic/Musical administration. As Bryce Hallett points out, model 1 (Full-time resident Artistic Director and part-time visiting conductor of elevated status) looks like the outcome.

I thought it telling that there is no sign next year of the British conductors who took over Hickox's workload (Sir Richard Armstrong and Mark Wigglesworth). Mark Wigglesworth will be here conducting (Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff, Rossini) with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in 2010. I don't know what conductors talk about at the conductors club, but you wonder what they say about the hazards of working in the colonies.

I suspect we the audience, the Company, the country, have a lot for which to thank Tony Legge. (He gets to conduct a few performances of Figaro in Melbourne late in the Season.) For bold new course or not, the ship, trapped in its beautiful but inadequate sails, is at least sailing on.

The Season has been well detailed by she who well details.

It looks at first glance like very safe programming with lots of standard rep and long long runs of them. There are six new productions (is A Little Night Music a new production?) - that's nearly half the season. Sail on indeed. And a world premiere with (started under Simone Young) Bliss.

What catches my eye:

1. The debut of Andrew Litton conducting Der Rosenkavalier with Cheryl Barker. If only it was at the Capitol (which I kept thinking all through the recent Fidelio).

2. The debut of the very accomplished Frederic Chaslin with Manon.

3. The return on Luhrmann's A Midsummer's Night Dream. I'll be interested to see how it holds up. It always looked cramped too.

4. Girl of the Golden West with no Minnie yet but Wegner and Dennis O'Neill. Whatever is happening with Lisa Gasteen, it is a tragedy.

5. The new Sonnambula with Emma Matthews and Bonynge.

6. And Cheryl's new Tosca.

7. And of course Bliss.

But that said, I've put my brochure aside rather than rush to the phone, like I did last year with the SSO Season for 2009, but did exactly the opposite (rushed to the phone) this year.

In an attempt to show how you fund six new productions, here's the numbers game, all pretty self-evident:

Tosca ...........................31 .....................Sydney 21 Melbourne 10
Figaro ..........................29 .....................Sydney 22 Melbourne 9
Pirates of Penzance .......25 ......................Sydney (some twice a day)
Traviata .......................19 ......................Sydney
Sonnambula .................16 ......................Sydney 9 Melbourne 7
MSND ..........................16 ......................Sydney 10 Melbourne 6
Rigoletto ......................15 ......................Sydney
Little Night Music .........11 ......................Sydney
Bliss ..............................10 ....................Sydney 6 Melbourne 4
Manon ...........................8 .....................Sydney
Der R .............................8 .....................Sydney
Girl Golden West .............8 .....................Sydney
Fledermaus ....................7 ......................Melbourne



Sydney 162
Melbourne 43


3 comments:

marcellous said...

'A Little Night Music' is new to Sydney. As to GFC, however, there is no future new-to-Sydney production being incubated in Melbourne in 2010 - that spot is taken by a revival of Fledermaus

If you look carefully, I expect you can see the Hickox gaps in this year's conducting schedule. My guess is that at least some of them might coincide with relatively heavy duty and new to OA conductors - Volmer for La fanciulla and Litton for Der Rosenkavalier (and probably Chaslin for Manon). Not to mention the return for Traviata of Auguin (Elke does not direct the revival).

wanderer said...

Call me old-something but I used to think 'new' meant exactly that, rather than 'new-to-you'. That's not a shot at the messenger.

I hadn't followed the Hickox gaps through and looking at it since I imagine Bliss was also likely on his schedule. It is (now) conducted by Elgar Howarth (b. Staffordshire) - so there is still a British link. I see that Staffordshire adjoins Worcestershire.

Smorg said...

Looks like a good and varied program you have there. :) I didn't even realize that Bonynge is still conducting! The San Diego Opera is also doing Traviata next year (they seem to be on a Puccini and Verdi spree of late... no Mozart in sight for the next 2 years!). That's always a good bet show to go to, I think.

Hope September is going well your way!! :o)