Cosi fan Tutte (2005)
Independent Theatre season October 13th 7.30pm, 15th 7.30pm, 18th 6.30pm, 20th 7.30pm, 22nd 2.30pm (matinee) Independent Theatre 369 Miller St Nth Sydney.
Riverside Theatres season, Lennox Theatre. November, 2nd, 4th, 5th at 8.15pm, corner Church and Market Sts Parramatta.
Ferrando, Martin Buckingham (left) and Guglielmo, Sam Roberts-Smith.
Dorabella, Margaret Plummer (left) and Fiordilig, Penelope Mills.
Dorabella, Margaret Plummer (left) and Despina, Narelle Yeo.
Don Alfonso, Douglas McRae.
Ferrando, Martin Buckingham (foreground), Don Alfonso, Douglas McRae (left) and Guglielmo, Sam Roberts-Smith, (right).
FIORDILIGI (Independent Theatre)
Penelope Mills holds a Master of Music in Operatic Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, a BMusEd (Hons) from the Sydney Conservatorium and has been awarded both an AMusA and LTCL in Vocal Performance. Whilst in the UK, she won the D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust Scholarship and the RNCM’s Stuart Grey Scholarship and was a finalist in the prestigious British Elizabeth Harwood Prize.
Recent operatic roles include Euridice (L’Orfeo, Pinchgut Opera), Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), First Lady (The Magic Flute, Pacific Opera), Tatyana (Onegin, Stowe Opera, UK), Zweite Dame (Die Zauberflˆte, RNCM), Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro, RNCM), Nedda (I Pagliacci, RNCM), and Zerlina (Don Giovanni, RNCM). Penelope performed with Opera Australia in 2004 and 2005.
Winner of several lieder and recital prizes, Penelope performs regularly in concert as a song recitalist. She has made television appearances, radio broadcasts and recordings for the ABC. Recent concert engagements in Australia and the UK include Bach B Minor Mass, Handel Messiah, Rutter Requiem, FaurÈ Requiem, Vaughan Williams Pilgrim’s Journey and Dona nobis Pacem, Mozart Mass in C, CPE Bach Magnificat, Pergolesi Stabat Mater, Vivaldi Gloria and Beethoven Symphony No 9 & Choral Fantasia.
This season’s highlights include Carmina Burana with the Sydney Philharmonia Choir, Fiordiligi in Pacific Opera’s Cosi fan tutte, the Poulenc Gloria and Beethoven Symphony No 9 in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall.
FIORDILIGI (Riverside Theatres Parramatta)
Julia Malczewski, soprano, obtained both a Bachelor of Music Degree and a Post-Graduate Diploma of Music in Vocal Studies from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, 1996. Most recently, Julia was awarded a full scholarship by the Opera Foundation of Australia to attend a 6 week study tour in Graz, Austria, at the American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS), July/August 2005. The Foundation also nominated Julia as a finalist in the Vienna State Opera Award for 2005, and as a finalist in the German Operatic Award for 2004. Julia was winner of the 2004 Australian National Eisteddfod, Canberra, and also semi-finalist in the City of Melbourne Song Recital Award, 2004.
2005 is Julia’s third year singing as a principal artist with OzOpera, Sydney, currently touring throughout NSW primary schools with the children’s opera, ìSid the Serpent who Wanted to Singî. Julia has also sung regularly for both the Opera Queensland and Opera Australia choruses. Julia also maintains a very wide and varied career on the concert platform as soloist, including such works as Handel’s ‘Dixit Dominus’ and the ‘Messiah’, the ‘Seasons’ & ‘Jephtha’, both by Haydn, Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’, and the Bach ‘Magnificat’. She has also performed as a regular soloist with the Qld Pops Orchestra in Brisbane, her home town.
Margaret is currently studying singing at the Conservatorium of Music under Dr. Rowena Cowley. Previously she studied Jazz voice at ANU and earlier this year spent a semester studying in Germany. Following her appearance in the chorus of Hansel and Gretel last year, Margaret is singing her first ever role with Pacific Opera in 2005.
Soprano Narelle Yeo is pleased to be returning to Pacific Opera after performing the role of Mother in the 2004 production of Hansel and Gretel. She completed her graduate performance studies at the Shepherd School of Music (Rice University) and at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, USA. Upon graduation, she received the prestigious SFCM Opera Award and was granted a scholarship to study at the American Institute of Musical Artists in Graz, Austria. A winner of the Bell Ritchie Awards and the Opear San Jose Young Artist Guild Competition, Narelle was also a finalist in the Enrico Caruso Awards. In August, Narelle won the City of Sydney Song Awards in the McDonalds Challenge.
Narelle has performed leading roles for numerous regional US opera companies, including Marguerite (Faust), Nedda (I Pagliacci), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Micaela (Carmen) and CioCioSan (Madama Butterfly). She was chosen to participate in Opera America’s Young Artist Audition Series and has appeared in masterclasses with Barbara Bonney, Richard Cassilly, Nico Castel, Patricia Craig and Irene Dallis. Concert highlights include the Bach’s St John Passion for the Goshen Bach Festival, Haydn’s Harmoniemesse for Berkeley Symphony and Maria in Respighi’s Laud to the Nativity for the San Francisco Symphony. Most recently she made her debut in the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, performing the soprano solo in Mozart’s Requiem under the baton of Maestro Shunji Aratani.
From an early age Martin showed promise as a performer singing professionally as a boy soprano with the Xavier Choir. Martin topped the state in Music performance in the 1997 HSC and that same year was selected to appear in the ENCORE concert held at the Opera House.
Martin and a number of friends banded together to form the cabaret group ìThree Tenors & a Ladyî to raise money to tour Europe and regularly performed at leagues and RSL clubs and in annual concerts at the Sydney Town Hall. Awarded a full scholarship, Martin returned to the Australian Institute of Music, after time out for his cabaret commitments, to complete a Music Theatre Degree under the mentorship of Petah Burns. Martin succeeded in 2003 with 1st class honors.
Training followed at the Sydney University Conservatorium of Music in 2004 under the guidance of Barry Ryan. 2005 saw Martin accepted into the School of Visual and Performing Arts at CSU under a full scholarship. As a part of this course Martin is planning his first veture as an impressario, producing his first opera ‘Mozart & Salieri’ in early 2007. He has also under taken a masters of teaching at the University of Sydney.
Over the past five years Martin has played over 15 main rolls in Opera, musical theatre, plays and short films. Some of the more challenging rolls include ‘Lechmere’ from Britten’s opera ìOwen Wingraveî, ‘Jesus’ in J.C. Superstar and ‘Riff’ from ‘West Side Story’.
He is currently looking forward to the challenges presented in the roll of Ferrando in the forthcoming production of Cosi fan tutte with Pacific Opera.
Sam attended Hale School in Western Australia from 1991 to 2002.
On completion of Year 12 Sam was 16. Despite his age he auditioned at the Conservatorium of Music, Edith Cowan, Mt Lawley and commenced his first year in a Certificate course. He was the winner of the prestigious Michelle Robinson Scholarship for Voice.
He auditioned for and performed in a number of productions throughout the year: Street Scene (WAPPA), Batavia (WA Opera Chorus) and Opera in the Park (WA Opera Chorus) and is a much sort after young entertainer.
He has completed his first year studying a Bachelor of Performing Arts Degree at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts and is currently completing his Bachelor of Music Degree at the Sydney Conservatorium.
During the year he has performed as a bass soloist for the Sydney Conservatorium for Dvorak Te Deum and will sing the role of Guglielmo in Cosi Fun Tutte for Pacific Opera in 2005.
He has recently received the Lionel Edgerton Scholarship and the Mc Caw-Marsh Entry Scholarship from the Sydney Conservatorium for 2005.
Douglas started playing piano at an early age and shone at his musical studies throughout his school years. After completing a Diploma and Bachelor of Music in classical singing at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts in 1998 Douglas became a member of the WA Opera Company where he took part in La Traviata, Carmen, Lucia Di Lammermoor, Tosca, The Barber of Seville and The Threepenny Opera.
1999 and 2000 saw him train on a scholarship at The Australian National Academy of Music under the vocal guidance of Gregory Yurisich, Sarah Walker and Marilyn Richardson, where he was selected as the sole singer in the Academy’s national tour.
More scholarships followed in 2001 and 2002 from the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, the Ian Potter scholarship, and the Australia Council enabling Douglas to study overseas at the Lucca Opera School and participate in the Daniel Ferro vocal program, a number of language courses in Italy and in London and Hamburg with distinguished musical coaches from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and English National Opera amongst others. In Hamburg, Douglas studied with the international baritone Tom Krause and attended an intensive German language course. In 2001 he was also a finalist in the Covent Garden Competition.
Major operatic roles have included Father in Hansel and Gretel for Pacific Opera, Figaro for Opera Australia, Papageno, Don Alfonso, Nardo, Publio, Bottom in Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Baron in La Traviata and the father in the modern opera, Greek by Mark Anthony Turnage. Douglas has also been a company member of Oz Opera for the past four years and appeared in concert as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah, the Faure Requiem, and Haydn and Beethoven masses.
Douglas has also conducted choirs and worked as an accompanist throughout Australia.
Kristen holds a Bachelor of Music (Honours) from UNSW and has studied singing with Jane Edwards, Geoffrey Chard and Neil Easton. She has frequently appeared as a soprano soloist at the concerts of UNSW's Collegium Musicum Choir & Orchestra. She currently studies part-time and works as a church music director and private music tutor.
Elizabeth has been singing, dancing and acting on stage since she was nine years old. She graduated from Charles Sturt University in 2000, with a degree in Acting for the Screen and Stage. Since then Elizabeth has continued to appear on film and stage, while improving her voice with regular vocal lessons.
Eliza is currently studying for a Bachelor of Art Theory at CoFA. She loves to sing and has been taking singing lessons for many years.
Gabrielle studies classical singing with Judith Malone in Turramurra. She has a degree in Science (Biology) from Newcastle University and has been awarded her AMusA and Performers Certificate in Classical Singing.
Eve is a mezzo-soprano who works as an Associate Lecturer in electronic music in the Department of Contemporary Music Studies, Macquarie University. Eve premiered her first multimedia-opera work entitled 'Her Song' in Canada during May, 2005.
Kylie graduated from Sydney University in 2005 with a BA majoring in History & Performance Studies. Currently working full time, she hopes to study opera in Queensland next year. This is her first performance with Pacific Opera.
DIRECTOR Christine Douglas
After studies at the VCA Christine sang extensively with all the State Opera companies and Opera Australia.
Christine has always been interested in the equality of drama and music, in her own performances and those she directs which have included Carmen, Marriage of Figaro, Magic Flute and Hansel and Gretel for Pacific Opera.
In acknowledgement of her commitment to training the next generation of Australian opera singers Christine was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 2001. The wealth of information gathered during that research in the UK and USA now informs her approach to encouraging and directing the cast of Pacific Opera.
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR Brendan Carmody
Brendan has had wide experience in many forms of media.
After studying Film and Television at TAFE in Sydney on a scholarship, Brendan spent several years directing live sporting broadcasts for commercial television and his production for the 2005 "Short and Sweet" theatre festival won the overall audience award.
He has written, directed and produced many short films (including "Dark Art", "Good Call", "Don't Talk Back") and promotional videos, which have been shown on giant screens for thousands of spectators. Brendan has also assisted on other peoples films, including Baz Luhrmann's "Moulin Rouge!".
Prior to working with Pacific Opera, Brendan was involved with Opera Australia's production of "Andrea Chenier", observing Elke Neidhart, and was subsequently invited to observe and assist Harry Kupfer's production of "Otello". He has also worked as a photographer, been published as a written journalist, and is currently studying acting.
SET AND COSTUME DESIGNER Pip Runciman
Pip primarily designs for film and theatre. She is also involved in graphic and interior design. Some of her theatre credits include: production design for Debbie Does Dallas the Musical, Inna Thigh - The Sista She Story, Morph for The Adelaide Fringe Festival, Disco Pigs directed by Geordie Brookman and costume design for the Pacific Opera’s production of Hansel and Gretel.
Her film credits include production design for The Libertine, by Morgan Christie, Just the Two of Us directed by Robert Lorrigan and Art Direction for the short film Lovesong. Pip also worked as a design assistant for the Rugby World Cup Opening Ceremony. In 2004 she designed an exhibition for Artist Charles Billich at the United Nations Building in New York, assisted on the Australian Arts and Entertainment Proposal for the 2005 World Expo and the 2005 Australia Day Proposal. Most recently pip was the graphic designer for Vusi Mahasela’s Voice of Freedom Tour and she is currently working on the production design for Tiny Dynamite at Griffin Theatre. Pip graduated from the Theatre Design course at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in 2002.
LIGHTING DESIGNER Bernie Tan
In recent years Bernie has lit and toured many productions. Amongst his drama and musical credits are: The Admiral’s Odyssey for Action Theatre Singapore, Amigos for La Boite Theatre Company, Dreaming Transportation for Performing Lines, The Flood, The Seed and Mr BBQ for NORPA, Story Time and Write Now 2001 for The Naked Theatre Company, Bob Cats Dancing, Bob Cat Magic and Charters Towers the Musical for The Queensland Music Festival, Knives in Hens for B Sharp, Borderlines for Griffin Theatre Company, Angle City, Mary Stewart and Freak Winds for Tamarama Rock Surfers, Hamlet for Pork Chop Productions and A Couple of Blaguards for Ensemble Theatre Company.
His Opera credits include: Semele, The Fairy Queen and Le` Orfeo for Pinch Gut Opera, Dialogue of The Carmelites and Pirates of Penzance for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
In Association with Nick Schlieper Bernie has worked on: The Ring Cycle and Parsifal for State Opera of South Australia, Two Brothers, Great Expectations, Inheritance and The visit for Melbourne Theatre Company, School for Scandal for Sydney Theatre and Twinkle Twinkle Little Fish for Windmill Performing Arts.
He has toured and re-lit: Copenhagen (Nigel Levings), Stones in His Pockets (Gavin Swift) and Christian Brothers (Bret Graham) for Sydney Theatre company and Small Poppies (Steven Hawker) for Company B.
STAGE MANAGER Ali Aitken
Originally from England and currently based in Sydney (via Hong Kong), Ali brings a wealth of experience to Pacific Opera. Her stage management credits range from 2004’s sell-out season of Hansel + Gretel to a regional tour of The Tempest, and acclaimed productions of L’Orfeo, Peter Pan, Blood Brothers, The Importance Of Being Earnest, La Cage Aux Folles, Rhinoceros, Contagion and The Opposite Sex.
Ali has also spent a fair amount of time playing up on stage and in front of a camera, most notably in The Wizard Of Oz, Journey To The West, The Rival, Wind In The Willows, My Fair Lady, Beauty + The Beast, Annie and The King + I.
Her production credits include Anything Goes, Red Hot + Cole, and Snow White. She has an Advanced Diploma in Entertainment from the Actors’ College of Theatre + Television.
ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER Eliza Maunsell
Eliza has been singing and playing music since she was small. She was a member of the Sydney Children’s Choir and NSW Performing Arts Unit Singers, and has also played the flute and French horn. She studied music, performance studies, English and languages at Sydney University, holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma in Editing and Publishing.
Since graduating in 2003 she has worked as assistant stage manager for Short and Sweet, and stage manager for Catharsis (Tap Gallery) followed by Love That Dog, Empress of China and Crescent Moon and Yellow Star at Belvoir St Theatre. More recently Eliza was Assistant Producer/ Costume Designer/ Stage Manager on Lovepuke at Tap Gallery. Eliza moved to the Old Fitzroy Theatre, Woolloomooloo in April 2005, working as production stage manager on Rebecca Clarke’s Unspoken (dir. Wayne Blair) followed by A Girl In A Car With A Man (lighting operator), To The Green Fields Beyond (sound and lighting operator), and Marathon (stage manager and lighting operator) at the Old Fitzroy.
Eliza hopes to utilize her knowledge and love of music and stage management in future operatic productions. Eliza is currently employed with Sydney Theatre Company’s 2006 Subscriptions box office.
How do you produce an opera which was first performed exactly two years after Australia was settled by europeans? An opera whose very title is sexist? You bring it into the Australia of today and set it where we instantly recognise the characters just as the audience in Mozart’s day would have done. We affectionately set it in the context of a footy club!
Our overpaid, testosterone filled young sportsmen make a bet with their coach that their fiancees will always be faithful. The girls, upset that their lovers are leaving for an international contest are kidded into meeting two new blokes, athletes from another, even more highly paid game.
The manipulations of the footy coach and the girls’ housekeeper throw the young women and their disguised lovers into all sorts of crazy situations and heartfelt moments. The genius of Mozart reveals the emotional journey of the characters even as they surrender to the comedy.
Join Pacific Opera’s cast of wonderful young singers and be refreshed and enlightened by this brand new production.
The libretto, not previously heard in Australia, is immediate and highly singable. The opera will be abbreviated to approximately 2 hours 50 minutes and will be sung in English.
A Short History of Cosi Fan Tutte.
First premiered Vienna, January 26th, 1790
Cosi Fan Tutte, Mozart's final comic opera would have been called Cosi Fan Tutti if Mozart's librettist Lorenzo da Ponte had wanted to imply that both sexes were unfaithful. The conceit of the title has been contentious since the earliest performances, some of which were even accompanied by apologies for the frivolity of the plot which had been attacked for portraying faithless women.
Written and composed at the suggestion of the Emperor Joseph II, Cosi fan tutte was first produced at Vienna in 1790 following the successful revival of The Marriage of Figaro in 1789. The piece was rehearsed at Mozart's apartment with Haydn present and received five performances before the death of Joseph II closed the theatres.
Critical opinion suggested that it was one of Mozart's weaker pieces. No opera of Mozart has received such frequent improvement or so many alternative titles. Today the opera is usually produced in its original form, even with the restoration of Mozart's own cuts. Along with the other Mozart-Da Ponte operas it is now a mainstay of the operatic repertoire.
Argument has raged among academics and music lovers for over two hundred years as to why Mozart would write such sublime music to such an insubstantial libretto. There were rumours that the piece was based on an actual incident in Vienna, some blamed Mozart for his lack of taste in choosing a subject whilst others gave themselves over to the exquisite and often profound score whilst being diverted by the deceptions of the plot.
The original story begins in a Neapolitan cafÈ where two young soldiers, Ferrando and Guglielmo bet with the older and more skeptical bachelor, Don Alfonso that their fiancÈes, the sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella, will always remain faithful. Aided by Despina, the sisters'maid, the men hatch a plot to test the women's loyalty. They disguise themselves as Albanians and woo each other's lovers, managing through various tricks to win over the initially reluctant women. As deeper feelings surface, however, the suitors become uneasy with their antics, and once the deception is unmasked it remains a mystery as to who pairs up with whom.
What should we make today of a piece whose very title is sexist? For a start we would do well to stop pretending that these attitudes have vanished from contemporary culture. In Mozart’s time the archetypal characters presented onstage were readily recognized by the audience. In Pacific Opera’s 2005 production, with a witty and musically apt translation by Jeremy Sams, the sexism of the characters is intrinsic to the setting. I look forward to seeing our audiences relate to our all Australian take on the plot. All the silliness and all the heart felt moments are retained whilst looking at the underbelly of one of Australia’s best loved sports.
Why is Mozart's humorous opera about fidelity still so popular? Maybe it has to do with the music, which is considered some of Mozart's finest or perhaps we simply enjoy being voyeurs of the foibles of romantic love.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791)
Possibly the greatest genius in Western musical history, Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart was born on January 27, 1756 in Salzburg. Mozart's father, Leopold, was a successful musician and composer and provided Mozart's only formal teaching in music.
Wolfgang began composing minuets at the age of 5, taught himself how to play the violin before turning seven and was writing symphonies at the age of 9. He and his older sister, Nannerl, performed a series of concerts to Europe's courts and major cities from the age of 6. Both children played the keyboard, but Wolfgang became a violin virtuoso as well. Mozart spent about a quarter of his life travelling throughout Europe, from London and Paris to Germany, Austria, and Italy. His renown as a child prodigy grew as he played complex compositions from memory, often blindfolded, and also composed.
In 1781 Mozart moved to Vienna, the imperial capital and a major cultural centre, working as a freelance composer and musician. In 1782 the now-popular Mozart married Constanze Weber, from a family of impoverished German musicians much to his father's dismay. He spent the next nine years of his life working as a teacher, pianist, concert promoter, and composer of some of the most sublime music in the history of Western music.
Mozart's greatest success was The Marriage of Figaro composed for the Vienna Opera in 1786. The great piano concertos and the string quartets dedicated to his dear friend Josef Haydn were also composed during this period. His greatest operatic success after Figaro was Don Giovanni, composed for Prague in 1787, where Mozart's art was especially appreciated. This was followed in 1790 by Cosi fan tutte, the third and final libretto provided by the Italian poet Lorenzo Da Ponte; and in 1791 by The Magic Flute, produced by a suburban theater in Vienna.
Mozart's fame began to disappear after Figaro. The nobility and court grew increasingly nervous about his revolutionary ideas as seen in Figaro. He sank into debt and was helped by a fellow Freemason. During this period of financial hardship, Mozart composed his last three symphonies in less than 7 weeks. He was beginning to establish himself with the aristocracy and public alike when he suddenly died, on December 5, 1791, at the age of 35, from what is thought to have been rheumatic fever, a disease from which he had suffered repeatedly throughout his life. After a cheap funeral at Saint Stephen's Cathedral, he was buried in an unmarked grave at the cemetery of Saint Marx, a Viennese suburb. Much has been made of this, but at that time such burial was legally required for all Viennese except those of noble or aristocratic birth.
Mozart excelled in every form in which he composed. In his operas Mozart's uncanny psychological insight is unique in musical history. His music influenced the later work of Haydn and of the next generation of composers, most notably Beethoven. The brilliance of his work continued until the end, although darker themes of poignancy and isolation grew more marked in his last years, and his compositions continue to exert a particular fascination for musicians and music lovers.