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Classical Music in Melbourne

Free Organ Recital
Get away from the city bustle and enjoy a free organ recital in historic St Michael's Church.

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Madama Butterfly

Opera Australia's production of Puccini's much-loved opera Madama Butterfly.

Cio-Cio-San - Svetla Vassileva (until 16 May), Hyesoung Kwon; Pinkerton - James Egglestone (until 16 May), Martin Buckingham; Suzuki Sian Pendry; Sharpless - Michael Honeyman; Goro Graeme Macfarlane; Kate Pinkerton - Jane Ede; The Bonze - Jud Arthur; Yamadori - Samuel Dundas; Commissioner - Jonathan McCauley; Registrar - Dean Bassett and Orchestra Victoria and Opera Australia Chorus conducted by Guillaume Tourniaire. Directed by Moffatt Oxenbould.

Running time: approximately 2 hours & 45 minutes, including one 20-minute interval.

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Don Giovanni

Opera Australia's production of Mozart's great opera Don Giovanni.

Don Giovanni -Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Leporello - Shane Lowrencev, Donna Anna - Emma Matthews, Don Elvira - Nicole Car, Don Ottavio - John Longmuir, Zerlina - Taryn Fiebig, Masetto - Richard Anderson, Commendatore -  Jud Arthur  and Orchestra Victoria and Opera Australia Chorus conducted by Anthony Legge. Directed by David McVicar.

Running time: approximately 3 hours & 15 minutes, with one 25-minute interval. Performed in Italian with English surtitles.

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Don Carlos

Opera Australia's production of Verdi's great opera Don Carlos.

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. Leading the cast of seventeen principal singers is Ferruccio Furlanetto, the most famous Philip II of our time, who recently sang the role in New York, London, and Vienna. With nearly 200 performers, this will be Opera Australia's biggest production since The Ring Cycle.

Elisabeth de Valois - Victoria Yastrebova, Princess Eboli - Milijana Nikolic, Don Carlos - Diego Torre, Rodrigo Count of Posa - José Carbó, Philip II - Giacomo Prestia, Grand Inquisitor - Daniel Sumegi, Frate - David Parkin, Tebaldo = Anna Dowsley, Voice from Heaven - Julie Lea Goodwin,  Lerma - Jonathan Abernethy, Herald - Simon Kim, Deputies - Pelham Andrews, Luke Gabbedy, Richard Anderson, Adrian Tamburini, Andrew Moran, Graeme Macfarlane  and Orchestra Victoria and Opera Australia Chorus conducted by Andrea Licata. Directed by Elijah Moshinsky.

Running time: approximately 4 hours & 20 minutes, including two 20-minute intervals. Performed in Italian with English surtitles.

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Curlew River
Gertrude Opera’s second Culture Project, connecting opera with stories of social justice and humanitarian issues of our time, takes a Benjamin Britten Church Parable, Curlew River, loosely based on a medieval Japanese Noh play and moulds to tell a modern tale, of a hypocritical, selfish society. Confronting the ill-treatment, abduction and death of a child, and reactions to grief-induced madness, to an exquisitely beautiful, gripping score for small chamber ensemble, the production will call into question society’s methods of coping with profound loss – loss of family, of house, of mind – and how we as a group treat those who think, act, or react to tragedy, differently from us.

Artistic Director - Linda Thompson, Designer - Peter Corrigan, Lighting - Greg Carroll, Costumes - Amelia Carroll, Music Direction: Evan Lawson, Dr David Kram, Pam Christie, Irina Cherkasski. Performed with chamber ensemble.

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The Australian Ballet - The Dream

This triple bill presented by The Australian Ballet with Orchestra Victoria celebrates Frederick Ashton, one of the greatest influences on 20th-century ballet and the epitome of the English classical style.

The Dream (1964) Choreography Frederick Ashton; Music Felix Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream orchestrated by John Lanchbery

Monotones II (1965) Choreography Frederick Ashton; Music Erik Satie orchestrated by Claude Debussy and Alexis Roland-Manuel

Symphonic Variations (1946) Choreography Frederick Ashton; Directed, supervised and staged by Wendy Ellis Somes and Malin Thoors; Music César Franck Symphonic Variations

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Woodend Winter Arts Festival
The Woodend Winter Arts Festival showcases music, literature and the visual arts in intimate historical venues over three pleasurable days.

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Swan Lake - St Petersburg Ballet
Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake is one of the best loved ballets in the repetoire with its unrivalled “white acts”, its spectacular and dramatic ballroom scene, sublime music and deeply moving story Following their sold out Paris season, the internationally acclaimed St Petersburg Ballet will present their full-length classic production of of this wonderful work. The 55 member company of St Petersburg Ballet continues to collect rave reviews around the world and thrill audiences with breathtaking scenery and magnificent costumes. This is a full-length, fully-sytaged production but since the publicity makes no mention of an orchestra, White Hat assumes that it is performed to recorded music. We will update this page if we find otherwise. Further details at St Petersburg Ballet.

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Australian Ballet - The Sleeping Beauty

Fairies, bluebirds, a gilded court and a spell-shattering kiss: the world’s most extravagant ballet is awakened to new life by The Australian Ballet's Artistic Director David McAllister. The Sleeping Beauty, with its Rose Adage, its grand pas de deux, its charming variations and its enchanting Tchaikovsky score, is the zenith of ballet’s golden age. Keeping true to the spirit of the traditional Beauty, David McAllister will direct a production that gives thrilling rein to the talents of the entire company. Lavish sets and costumes by Gabriela Tylesova, whose work for ballet, opera and theatre includes the much-lauded designs for Love Never Dies, will evoke the splendour of the Imperial court and the magic of fairies, nymphs and visions. With Orchestra Victoria

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The Rabbits - World Premiere

John Marsden and Shaun Tan's haunting picture book tells a story we all know: a story of colonisation, civilisation and progress — a story about displacement, destruction and culture clash. And in that landscape, it tells a story of hope taking root. It's a story for young people, it's a story for old people, it's a story for all of us.

Opera Australia and Barking Gecko Theatre Company have assembled some of Australia's foremost creative talents to collaborate on a new opera for children and families. Gabriela Tylesova's kooky sets and costumes realise Tan's pictures in all of their mystical wonder, while Lally Katz has turned Marsden's spare poetry into an enchanting libretto. To write the score, Kate Miller Heidke: the butterfly-voiced, classically-trained indie-pop singer who is as at home on the charts as she is performing at the Met. As well as composing The Rabbits, Kate will perform in this production.

Running time: approximately 60 minutes, without interval.

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The Marriage of Figaro

Opera Australia's production of Mozart' s opera The Marriage of Figaro.

Mozart's classic comedy has been entertaining crowds for centuries, and between the witty, fast-moving libretto and the melodic, charming ensemble writing, it's not hard to understand why. David McVicar won acclaim for his Covent Garden production of The Marriage of Figaro, so we look forward to his new production for Australia.

Count Almaviva - Shane Lowrencev, Countess - Jane Ede (until 19 Nov) & Nicole Car, Susanna - Taryn Fiebig, Figaro -  Andrew Jones, Cherubino - Sian Pendry, Marcellina - Dominica Matthews, Bartolo - Richard Anderson, Don Basilio - Benjamin Rasheed, Don Curzio - Graeme Macfarlane, Barbarina - Eva Kong, Antonio - Adrian Tamburini, Bridesmaids - Annabelle Chaffey & Anna Yun and Orchestra Victoria and Opera Australia Chorus conducted by Anthony Legge. Directed by David McVicar.

Running time: approximately 3 hours & 20 minutes, including one 20 minute interval Performed in Italian with English surtitles.

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The Elixir of Love

Opera Australia's production of Donizetti's opera The Elixir of Love.

Simon Phillip's much-loved production of The Elixir of Love is set in an Australian country town circa 1915.

"If you're doing a comic opera it's useful to get it as close to a contemporary world as you legitimately can," he says, "because that affords you the possibility of laughs of recognition as well as situation."

So how does the story of Elixir pan out down under? There's Adina, the squatter's daughter who wants to play the field before settling down. There's Nemorino, the lovestruck labourer who loves reading romantic poetry in his spare time. There's Belcore, the English officer who fancies having a fine young lady on his arm. Then there's the travelling larrikin, Dulcamara, who offers to solve everyone's problems with a drop of the good stuff.

As Phillips points out, the regiment of soldiers and all the talk of conscription mean that a modern adaptation would have jarred, but setting the story in Australia in 1915 provides a rich vein of comic material to add to the mix. It also inspired set designer Michael Scott-Mitchell and costume designer Gabriela Tylesova to come up with one of Opera Australia's favourite entrances when our heroine, Adina, rides into town on a corrugated iron horse.

Best of all, a knockout cast — Rachelle Durkin, Aldo Di Toro, Andrew Jones and Conal Coad — means that Donizetti's music shines as brightly as ever under the Antipodean skies.

Cast: Adina - Rachelle Durkin, Nemorino - Aldo Di Toro, Belcore - Andrew Jones (until 26 Nov) & Christopher Hillier, Dulcamara -Conal Coad, Giannetta - Eva Kong and Orchestra Victoria with Opera Australia Chorus conducted by Benjamin Northey.

Running time: approximately 2 hours & 20 minutes, including one 20-minute interval. Performed in Italian with English surtitles.

Some related broadcasts of interest

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