upcoming_don carlos


Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre

20 – 29 May

Light gleams off dark marble monuments and the terror of the Spanish inquisition is captured in a stage beset with shadows.

Verdi's music masterfully controls the twisting and turning story. Vivid orchestral colours and affecting melodies manipulate his audience to devastating effect: we love, we hate, we turn and sympathise as each note reveals a little more of these complex, charismatic characters.

The opera is testament to Verdi's ability to create light and dark in a single moment, and to sing it, you need a huge cast of extraordinary performers. Don Carlos features an international cast of nearly 200 led by Mexico’s Diego Torre in the title role, Serbia’s Milijana Nikolic, Russia’s Victoria Yastrebova, Italy’s Giacomo Prestia and Australia’s José Carbó and Daniel Sumegi.

upcoming_don giovanni


Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre

11 – 30 May

The serial seducer is on the loose again, in a new production from one of the most provocative minds in opera today, David McVicar.

Teddy Tahu Rhodes’ Don is mad, he’s bad, he’s dangerous but, damn him to hell, his serenades are just divine. David McVicar teases out the psychological drama of these questions in a highly anticipated new production and Australian debut from the leading opera director of his generation. And in the role he was born to sing, Teddy Tahu Rhodes’ powerful magnetism, dark-hued voice and imposing physique make being bad seem oh so good.

The Don has met his match. Don Giovanni brings together two of this country’s biggest opera stars for the first time in an Opera Australia production – Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Don Giovanni and Emma Matthews as Donna Anna.

upcoming_madama butterfly


Arts Centre Melbourne, The State Theatre

4 – 30 May

Rejected by her past, forgotten by the man she loves, Butterfly clings to the promise of honour, just beyond the horizon.

For what is likely to be the last time in Melbourne, Moffatt Oxenbould’s stunning production of Madama Butterfly takes to the stage with the distinction of being Opera Australia’s most successful show ever.

American naval captain Pinkerton has come to Japan and finds himself enchanted with a local girl, Cio-Cio-San whom he nicknames Butterfly. The two marry but Pinkerton must return to the States, leaving a hopeful Butterfly awaiting a reunion. When Pinkerton does return, he does not come alone and finds Butterfly also has news to share.

With its stunning costuming and set, combining flame, water, silk and wood, it’s easy to see why Madama Butterfly is the most performed production in Opera Australia’s history. Featuring some of the best known arias in opera, Madama Butterfly is an incredible experience for those new to opera and connoisseurs alike.



Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre

1 – 11 December

Here comes Sir John, wide of girth, broad of humour and bold in his desires. See this ruddy-nosed knight in all his grubby magnificence, ready to revel in Verdi’s glorious score.

Here come some coney-catching rascals, fond of a tankard of beer. Here come two merry wives with keen wits and cunning plans. And here come the young folk, true of heart and fair of song.

Who will look after this colourful mess of characters? Fear not, they are in good hands, for Verdi, the master dramatist, will out-Shakespeare Shakespeare in this late, great comedy. Don't forget: he who laughs last, laughs longest.



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.