Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre

6 November (Preview)
12 November – 13 December

“Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore,” Tosca bemoans her fate with devastating beauty and poise.“ I lived for art; I lived for love.”

At last they are alone. The man hunt, the interrogation, the prayers, all forgotten as he leers at his conquest. Just sign the note of sage passage and she's his! Where's that pen? His upper lip sweats as he readies himself for Tosca's kiss. He doesn't see the knife glinting behind her back.

Vissi d’arte could equally be the catchphrase of John Bell, the Australian doyen of Shakespeare who, for more than fifty years, has lived wholeheartedly for his art. Like the knife concealed against Tosca’s silk gown, Puccini’s verismo drama has a sharp edge, employed to startling effect in lushly orchestrated tunes. It is that theatrical instinct that has lured the director into the world of opera.

Bell has transplanted Tosca’s story to 1943, when Mussolini’s successors abandoned Rome to the invading German armies. Michael Scott-Mitchell’s sets recreate the radiant, baroque interior of Sant’Andrea della Valle church and, in cruel contrast, the grim, fascist architecture of Scarpia’s headquarters.



Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre

Performed by the world-renowned RUSSIAN NATIONAL DANCE company. "KOSTROMA" is a spectacular and beautiful evocation in dance of ancient Russian culture. This mesmerising event unites centuries of dramatic musical and dance tradition.

This DAZZLING MASTERPIECE featuring 45 elite dancers, masterly techniques, 600 lavish costumes and over 15 scenes. 'KOSTROMA' takes the audience on a bewitching journey from the Arctic north to the southern Steppes, the peaks of the Caucasus to the depths of Siberia. "KOSTROMA" is named after the place of its birth and the cradle of the Romanov dynasty, an ancient Russian town situated on the banks of the great Volga river. The internationally acclaimed Russian National Dance company was founded in the early 1990's by its director and producer Elena Tsarenko with Art Director and Chief Dance Master Yury Tsarenko. The company lives and breathes the traditions of their land.

The premiere performances of “KOSTROMA” were presented in, Moscow, London Paris and Rotterdam. 'KOSTROMA' has been appearing in the Cosmos Concert Hall, Moscow since 2005. The French call it ‘A Russian dance miracle’, the Netherlands know it as ‘The spirit of Russia’. This theatrical production with its famous image of 'The Girl in Silver', has already won the hearts of audiences in over 25 countries.