Opera Australia Announces 2015 Season - THE RABBITS, ANYTHING GOES and More

Opera Australia has announced details of its 2015 season, consolidating the recent success in building audiences, with a program that is uniquely audience-focused. Clear in its aim to grow audiences even further with masterpieces of opera and music theatre, the program for the year ahead is highly accessible, with a roster of artists at the top of their game. Now more than ever is the time to experience opera and to discover just why it's moved hearts and minds for so long.

Opera aficionados will relish the international talents now working regularly with Opera Australia. One of the highlights of 2015

is Sir David McVicar, who will direct three productions for Opera Australia this season. The renowned Scottish director brings a dramatic intensity from the theatre to his opera work. Don Giovanni will be presented in Melbourne following a dynamite season at the Sydney Opera House in 2014 - the first of three new Mozart productions he will present with Opera Australia over three years. The second is a new The Marriage of Figaro in both Sydney and Melbourne.

His celebrated, gothic production of Faust, first performed at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, will be staged at the Sydney Opera House during the summer season.

A dazzling line up of international singers will make their Opera Australia debut in 2015.

- Michael Fabiano - Lyndon Terracini says "Michael is one of the great tenors of today though he's only just 30!" Fabiano will perform the title role in Faust.

- Ferruccio Furlanetto - Lyndon Terracini says "Ferruccio has earned his reputation as probably the greatest Basso Cantante alive." Furlanetto will perform his signature role of King Phillip in Don Carlos.

- Lise Lindstrom - Lyndon Terracini says "Lise is widely considered the very best Turandot in the world today - and Australian audiences will soon see why! She was spectacular when

I saw her at Covent Garden and I'm thrilled she has agreed to join us in 2015."

- Anna Pirozzi - Lyndon Terracini says "Anna is a genuine Verdi soprano with an incredible range.

When you find people who can sing Verdi the way it should be sung, then it's absolutely thrilling. Anna is just that." Pirozzi will perform in Don Carlos.

- Maija Kovalevska - Lyndon Terracini says "Maija Kovalevska is a true star. When I saw her at The Met recently, I knew we had to have her." Kovalevska will perform as Mimi? in the season opener, La bohe?me.

New initiatives pepper the
2015 season including an original work by Kate Miller-Heidke, called

The Rabbits based on the beautiful Australian book by author John Marsden and artist Shaun Tan
(a collaboration between Opera Australia and Barking Gecko Theatre Company). Opera Australia presents its first Cole Porter musical, Anything Goes in collaboration with John Frost, which will tour nationally throughout the year. And the now annual Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour will grow into a four-week season over Easter with its grandest opera yet - a brand new production of the grand spectacle, Aida.

Complementing the new initiatives are a line-up of true masterpieces of the repertoire showcased by master performers of today, making it a year to see the greatest operas in the repertoire performed at their absolute best. Opera highlights will include the lavishly staged Don Carlos with its Vela?zquez- inspired painterly sets and cast of thousands, directed by Elijah Moshinsky; the gothic story of angel-turned-devil Faust directed by Sir David McVicar; and John Bell's spectacular and dramatic telling of Tosca which returns to Sydney.

Bringing masterpieces to life throughout 2015 are some very special international artists who now include Opera Australia in their regular performing circuit:

- Giorgio Caoduro who so impressed Sydney critics and audiences alike for his magnificent Rigoletto last season, will delight as Valentin in Faust.

- Audiences fell in love with Korean tenor Yonghoon Lee for his role in Tosca last year and in the coming season he will play Calaf in Turandot, opposite Lise Lindstrom.

- Paolo Bordogna was a smash hit in The Turk in Italy earlier this year - an immense talent both as a singer and actor. He returns to Sydney for The Marriage of Figaro in 2015.

- Alexia Voulgaridou, the Greek soprano who won hearts as Tosca in 2013, will return to play Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly in Sydney.

- Dalibor Jenis, an intense and impressive Onegin earlier last season will tackle the role of the Count in The Marriage of Figaro.

Home-grown talents continue to flourish, with some outstanding star performers in some big roles. Teddy Tahu Rhodes has a year exploring his dark side, as the devil in Faust, and as the heartless Don Giovanni. Nicole Car showed her true star quality in Eugene Onegin last season, and in this coming year she tackles some major roles, under the guidance of Sir David McVicar. First she is the lover-turned-mad Marguerite in Faust, opposite Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Michael Fabiano. Next she plays the maiden Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. And finally she takes on the role of the conniving Countess in The Marriage of Figaro.

Renowned conductors are amongst the many highlights of the 2015 season. Newcomers Andrea Battistoni (Tosca)
and Gianluca Martinenghi (Madama Butterfly) will join a stellar international line up of conductors now making regular guest appearances with Opera Australia. They include Christian Badea (Turandot), Renato Palumbo (La Traviata), Andrea Molino (La bohe?me), Guillaume Tourniaire (Faust, Madama Butterfly), Andrea Licata (Don Carlos) and Jonathan Darlington (The Marriage of Figaro). Esteemed local conductors Benjamin Northey, Brian Castles- Onion and Anthony Legge also feature in the year's stable.

The year of masterpieces opens and closes with the traditional New Year's Eve extravaganza featuring two performances at the Sydney Opera House, plus pre-show fine dining and the Midnight Party held in the city's best location. The glass-fronted foyers that play host to these special events afford unrivalled views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the spectacular fireworks, around which the performances and events are timed to perfection. For the opera lover, the tourist, or the Sydney- sider wanting to experience the best of their city on this special night, New Year's Eve with Opera Australia is the ultimate way to spend the night.

Opera Australia offers subscription packages ranging from three performances to the complete set, with pricing to fit all budgets. Under 30s can put together a package starting from $180. And those not wanting to miss a thing can see the full year of opera including Anything Goes and Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: Aida in one spectacular year of performances.

Details and bookings: opera.org.au

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