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Victorian Opera launches its 2016 Season, a year of Different Dreams


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MVA Victorian Opera Phoebe Briggs, Jeremy Kleeman, Emma Matthews, Sally Anne Russell Melbourne May 2015
MVA Victorian Opera
Phoebe Briggs,
Jeremy Kleeman,
Emma Matthews,
Sally Anne Russell
May 2015

Victorian Opera and Musica Viva present new chamber opera, Voyage to the Moon, starring celebrated Australian singers Emma Matthews and Sally-Anne Russell.

Victorian Opera launches its 2016 Season, a year of Different Dreams, with a vivid reimagining of the Baroque in Voyage to the Moon, a new co-production with Musica Viva. Australian theatrical legend Michael Gow writes and directs the production – a contemporary take on the traditional Baroque practice of ‘pasticcio’.

Based on Ariosto’s epic poem Orlando Furioso, Gow’s new libretto weaves together a ‘jukebox’ of both classic and obscure Baroque music with a musical score compiled by Baroque expert, the late Alan Curtis. Gow reflects, “The title echoes the first sci-fi film, Georges Méliès’ silent masterpiece Le Voyage dans la Lune. Ariosto’s vast 16th epic Orlando Furioso is often mentioned as an early example of science fiction, because in Canto 34 the knight Astolfo travels to the moon to retrieve Orlando’s sanity. Librettists found in this great poem an almost inexhaustible source of characters, situations and themes for the Baroque operatic stage.”

Australia’s most adored soprano, Emma Matthews, makes her Victorian Opera debut starring alongside acclaimed mezzo Sally-Anne Russell and former Victorian Opera Developing Artist Jeremy Kleeman. The semistaged production is designed by Christina Smith and Matt Scott (The Flying Dutchman) and showcases lavish period costume. Featuring the music of Vivaldi, Handel, Telemann, Gluck, Orlandini and de Majo, leading Australian chamber instrumentalists bring vitality to the score led from the harpsichord by Victorian Opera’s Head of Music Phoebe Briggs.

Briggs notes that: “Arias, ensembles and instrumental passages have been chosen from across the vast repertoire, handpicked for their expressive and emotive content. New text in English was created and recitatives were written to link the musical items and advance the drama of the storyline. The chamber orchestration of the work creates a varied and colourful soundscape and adds a lush and florid layer to the vocal fireworks.”

Gow’s libretto recounts a tale of loss, love, madness and friendship. The great warrior Orlando, Emma Matthews, has lost his lover and now his mind. His friend the brave knight Astolfo, Sally-Anne Russell, is guided by the mysterious Magus, Jeremy Kleeman, to the moon – home to many of earth’s lost things including Orlando’s wits. They must confront Selena – The Guardian of the Moon, also performed by Emma Matthews, in order to save their friend.

Following its world premiere Melbourne season at Melbourne Recital Centre from 15-19 February, the production will tour nationally with performances in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Adelaide until 12 March. Victorian Opera and Musica Viva present Voyage to the Moon in partnership with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions. Professor Jane Davidson and her research team will study the work’s effect on audiences and the creative team in view of the genre’s emotional impact during the Baroque period.

A series of free talks and workshops will be available across the production’s national tour, including a daylong symposium Baroque Music: Performance, Emotions, Insights at Melbourne Recital Centre on Wednesday 17 February.

…. Melbourne Season Voyage to the Moon 15, 16, 18 & 19 February, 7:30pm Melbourne Recital Centre, Elisabeth Murdoch Hall Corner Southbank Blvd & Sturt Street, Southbank Tickets: $60 – $155.

Voyage 30 & Under $30

Bookings: www.melbournerecital.com.au or (03) 9699 3333

Baroque Music: Performance, Emotions, Insights Wednesday 17 February, Workshops from 10am Melbourne Recital Centre, The Salon Corner Southbank Boulevard & Sturt Street, Southbank Tickets are free but bookings are essential at www.melbournerecital.com.au

National Tour

Voyage to the Moon tours nationally from 15 February – 12 March.

For further information on national tour dates, performances and bookings: please visit www.musicaviva.com.au/Voyage or call 1800 688 482.

Sydney | 22 & 23 February 7pm; 27 February 2pm City Recital Hall Angel Place, 2-12 Angel Place, Sydney

Brisbane | 29 February & 1 March 7pm Conservatorium Theatre, 16 Russell Street, South Brisbane Brisbane concerts presented in association with Opera Queensland

Canberra | 4 March 7pm Llewellyn Hall, ANU School of Music, Childers Street, Acton Perth | 7 March 7.30pm

Perth Concert Hall, 5 St Georges Terrace, Perth Perth concert presented in association with West Australian Opera

Adelaide | 11 March & 12 March 7.30pm Adelaide Town Hall, 128 King William Street, Adelaide

Adelaide concerts presented in association with Adelaide Festival of the Arts Voyage to the Moon is a collaboration between Musica Viva and Victorian Opera, in partnership with the Performance Program of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, and with support by the Musica Viva Amadeus Society.

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