This new multi-year collaboration was launched during Dark Mofo 2017, with 3 performances of Respighi’s The Sleeping Beauty at the Theatre Royal, Hobart on June 10 and 11.
Funded by the Australia Council for the Arts to enable Victorian Opera to present opera projects with the TSO in Tasmania, the relationship will span at least the next 4 years.
The Sleeping Beauty marked the first of these collaborations, bringing Victorian Opera’s critically acclaimed Melbourne production, to be followed on August 12 by a concert performance of Bizet’s Carmen at Federation Concert Hall, Hobart featuring an all-star cast including Russian mezzo-soprano Elena Maxima, Argentinian tenor Marcelo Puente, Teddy Tahu Rhodes and conducted by TSO Chief Conductor and Artistic Director Marko Letonja. With Carmen, the TSO continues its recent success presenting opera in concert. Last year’s performance of highlights from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, featuring Nina Stemme and Stuart Skelton reprising their roles direct from The Metropolitan Opera in New York was a major cultural coup for Tasmania. It was also conducted by Letonja who has just completed the monumental task of conducting The Ring with the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm.
TSO Managing Director Nicholas Heyward said, ‘We welcome this partnership with one of Australia’s most dynamic and exciting opera companies. Our relationship with Victorian Opera will enable the TSO to expand on our efforts in recent seasons to bring world-class opera repertoire to Tasmanian audiences, as well as capitalise on our long-term relationship with Marko whose reputation as one of the world’s leading opera conductors continues to flourish.’
TSO Director Artistic Planning Simon Rogers recently commented, ‘How fortunate we are to have Marko as our Chief Conductor in Tasmania. He works in the very best opera houses in the world and is keen to bring this experience and world-class operatic soloists to us on an ongoing basis.’ Letonja returns to Tasmania to conduct Colours of the East on August 4 before Carmen. Victorian Opera and The TSO first collaborated in 2015 with Remembrance, composed by Victorian Opera’s Artistic Director Richard Mills which commemorated the ANZAC centenary through songs of the wartime era.
Mills says of the new ongoing collaboration with the TSO ‘The TSO is a jewel, not only in Tasmania’s crown, but within the Australian musical landscape, and an orchestra with which I have a long and fruitful relationship. I am delighted that this new arrangement enables this fine orchestra to join with Victorian Opera to present innovative, accessible opera to the Tasmanian audience on an annual basis.’