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Melbourne Opera Presents Comic Opera Der Rosenkavalier From 9 August

Melbourne Opera Presents Comic Opera Der Rosenkavalier From 9 AugustFollowing the critical and public triumph of Roberto Devereux, Lohengrin and most recently Tristan and Isolde, Melbourne Opera will next stage Richard Strauss' romantic comedy Der Rosenkavalier, not seen in Melbourne for 16 years, at the beautiful Athenaeum Theatre from 9 - 17 August.

Featuring many of Strauss' most famous waltzes and ensembles, Der Rosenkavalier (The Knight of the Rose) boasts a superb international cast of singers and musicians lead by renowned Richard Strauss specialist Dr David Kram.

Tickets are on sale now via Ticketek / (03) 9650 1500.

Melbourne Opera is thrilled to have secured international star Daniel Sumegi for the pivotal role of Baron Ochs. Daniel has performed this central role of the bass repertoire extensively internationally, notably with the Welsh National Opera and Scottish Opera. Australian-born and a Melbourne Sun Aria winner, Daniel has more than 100 roles in his repertoire. Since his US debut in 1991, Daniel has performed at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Covent Garden and the Paris Opera, as well as major opera companies around the world.

In addition to the bass of Baron Ochs, Der Rosenkavalier is, in essence, a powerful showcase for the female voice: the aristocratic Marschallin performed by Lee Abrahmsen; Danielle Calder as her young and dashing lover Count Octavian, and Anna Voshege prospective fiancée, Sophie, the daughter of a rich bourgeois. The three sopranos share several duets as well as a trio at the opera's emotional climax.

Der Rosenkavalier is a comic opera that still manages to explore weighty subject matter relevant to the present day, with underlying themes of aging, sexual predation and selfish love.

This new production will be directed by Tama Matheson, in his Melbourne Opera debut. Tama directed The Love of the Nightingale for Opera Australia, and is the artistic director of the Brisbane Shakespeare Festival. He has also worked with world leading directors from Covent Garden to St. Petersburg. Last year, his production of Amadeus won Brisbane's prestigious Matilda Award for Best Production.

"Rosenkavalier has some of the most miraculous music ever written for the opera. It also has a deep humanity and maturity - the characters are wonderfully realised - and the contrasting depictions of old and young love are utterly dazzling. It works on so many levels: comedy, social commentary, theatrical spectacle, and human drama. Like a Mozart opera (from which it takes its cue), it manages to contain all aspects of human experience," says Tama.

The three act comedy illuminates Strauss' beautifully polished score, with opulent waltzes, scintillating harmonies and complex vocal arrangements, including the instantly recognizable Viennese waltz, a recurring theme throughout the opera. The sumptuous scores are interwoven with plenty of disguises, theatrical gender bending and comic intrigue.

Acclaimed Australian opera star Lee Abrahamsen, also a Herald Sun Aria winner, returns to Melbourne Opera to perform the role of the beautiful Marschallin, fresh from her lauded performance as the female lead in Tristan and Isolde earlier this year. Lee had a triumphant 2017, which saw her make her Opera Australia debut as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, sing Puccini's Tosca with the Australian Discovery Orchestra, and perform to a stadium sized audience from the roof of the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Lee is joined by fellow Opera Australia alumni Danielle Calder, who has won slew of awards including the Sleath Lowrey Rotary Scholarship and the 2005 Dame Joan Hammond Greenroom Award. Danielle has toured nationally with Opera Australia, performing the roles of Micaela and Frasquita in Carmen, Mabel and Edith in The Pirates of Penzance and Sylvia in The Merry Widow. She also performed with Opera Australia in the production of Don Pasquale in Tokyo.

The main cast is rounded out by Australian-German coloratura soprano Anna Voshege who was most recently awarded the esteemed 2017 Richard Strauss Singing Competition in Munich, Germany, along with the Australian Music Events Opera Scholar of the Year and the The Armstead Singing Award. Anna is a regular concert soloist with the Vienna Baroque and Classic Orchestra in Palais Schönborn.

Other cast includes Simon Meadows as Faninal, Andrea Leighton as Marianne Leitmnetzer, John Pickering (also a Sun Aria winner) as Valzacchi and Caroline Vercoe as Annina. Also starring in Der Rosenkavalier are Alison McIntosh-Deszcz (soprano), Shakira Dugan (mezzo-soprano) and Michael Dimovski (tenor), three of the six singers being supported by the recently announced Richard Divall Emerging Artists Program, honouring the memory of one of Australia's most lauded conductors, Maestro Richard Divall AO OBE (1945-2017).

Melbourne Opera, which receives no government funding, is Victoria's busiest opera company, staging three or four full-scale main stage productions and many concerts - including significant international touring - each year. The company gives emerging singers and musicians invaluable professional experience in the company of distinguished experienced artists. As well as mainstream repertoire, Melbourne Opera is committed to presenting lesser-known masterpieces.

Sung in English, Der Rosenkavalier is Melbourne Opera's second production in the company's 2018 season, following their widely acclaimed production of Wagner's Tristan and Isolde in February and a triumphant sold out concert tour of China in December 2017.

Melbourne Opera is set to stage Gioachino Rossini's Otello in early October 2018, directed by acclaimed film director Bruce Beresford. Internationally acclaimed Wagnerian Anthony Negus will return to conduct Richard Wagner's The Flying Dutchman in February 2019 at The Regent Theatre.

The exciting coming season adds to an already successful 2018 for the independent opera company, which has recently confirmed its position in Victoria's cultural landscape - by being invited to partner with the prestigious Herald Sun Aria for the next five years. The Herald Sun Aria is Australia's oldest and most prestigious singing competition.

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