Saturday, December 22, 2018

Favourite moments as part of "What Melbourne Loved in 2018, Part 9"

Published 21st December, 2018 as part of the blog Sometimes Melbourne in "What Melbourne Loved in 2018, Part 9"

Favourite moments in 2018

As far as opera went, a rather well-balanced season of works fired up the local scene. I’m not giving too much away right now because all will be revealed in my humble Twitter evening on 27 December in the Fourth Annual OperaChaser Awards, my fun way of acknowledging the production achievements and breadth of talent across the medium.

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Opera Australia
Of the government-funded companies, Opera Australia pulled off a riveting little masterpiece for its first foot in the door with Malthouse Theatre for Brian Howard’s Metamorphosis. I haven’t ever experienced the Malthouse feel so capacious and director Tama Matheson brought together an insightful fusion of disturbing drama and discordant soundscape and transformed it into an extraordinary and inquiring theatrical experience.

I also loved director Kasper Holten’s wildly imaginative interpretation of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Opera Australia’s big-budget co-production with London’s Royal Opera. What was so rewarding about this production was how Holten’s hybrid storytelling mixed theatrical illusion with characters reinterpreted as part of the theatre and it still leaves so much to ponder. 

As state company Victorian Opera’s appearances on the calendar in Melbourne were thin, it seemed so wasteful that such a seductive and ethereal quality that was created for Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande was all but over in just two performances. A superlative cast, creatives and young musicians from ANAM worked marvellously together to produce a work of exceptionally high standard. 

Der Rosenkavalier, Melbourne Opera
On the independent scene, Melbourne Opera continued to pull off some ambitious and exquisitely staged hard-hitting work. In particular, there’ll be mentions for Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde and Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier.

Smaller independent players were less prominent but Gertrude Opera made history in bringing Poul Ruders’s The Handmaid’s Tale to the stage in its Australian premiere. Ruders’s score is a spectacular conglomeration of sonic form and director Linda Thompson gave its disturbing story an absolutely thrilling account in a knockout simple production as part of her inaugural Yarra Valley Opera Festival. 

For more, come join me with champagne on Twitter @OperaChaser at 5 pm, 27 December, for the enjoyment it gives me to announce all. 

Looking forward to in 2019

I’m looking forward to everything Melbourne can do in showcasing the art of opera. At least the year will be starting well with more Wagner in February with not one, but two fully staged productions: Melbourne Opera’s The Flying Dutchman and Victorian Opera’s Parsifal. It’s 2020 I’m concerned about. After so much gorgeously produced Wagner works Melbourne has been treated to in the last few years, what will it be like without him? 

SM: I see shows vicariously though Paul. He sees work I'll never have the chance to see (os) but I feel like I have when I read his reviews.


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