Artistic Director’s Welcome


Welcome to the 2014 season of West Australian Opera featuring a sensational line-up of productions and casts.


With great anticipation and eagerness, we present a West Australian Opera premiere in Giuseppe Verdi’s towering masterpiece Otello. Italian tenor Antonello Palombi makes his West Australian Opera debut as Otello alongside one of Australia’s leading sopranos, Cheryl Barker as Desdemona. Perth baritone James Clayton will make his role debut as the treacherous Iago. This exciting new production will be produced in a bold new staging in collaboration with the Perth International Arts Festival.


City of Perth’s Opera in the Park will be Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca staged by Stuart Maunder, conducted by Brian Castles-Onion and starring Anke Höppner as the tempestuous heroine. Tosca returns to Perth again for what is surely one of opera’s greatest thrillers.


This year, I am particularly pleased to highlight the achievements of the Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist Program as we feature both current members and alumni among our casting line-up. I am especially proud to single out James Clayton who will take on three major baritone roles in our season: Papageno in Flute, Count di Luna in Trovatore, and Iago in Otello.


The talented members of our Young Artist Program represent the future of opera and it is West Australian Opera’s great pleasure to present them to you this season.


Rachel McDonald joins us to direct Göran Järvefelt’s beautiful production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The opera will be performed entirely in English making this the perfect opera for the entire family. Children of all ages will surely be enchanted by the delightfully magical story and some of Mozart’s most charming music. This lyrically uplifting opera will feature Australian tenor Alexander Lewis in his West Australian Opera debut, fresh from his successes as a member of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artists Development Program. Former Young Artist Katja Webb sings Pamina and James Clayton will return for his delightful portrayal of the bird-catcher Papageno. Frequent West Australian Opera guest Brad Cohen will conduct. We are also proud to present important debuts of two current Young Artists, Sarah Guilmartin and Caitlin Cassidy as First Lady and Third Lady.


We will close 2014 with a return to Verdi and his darkly brooding Il Trovatore in a strikingly atmospheric production by Elke Neidhardt. This opera features some of Verdi’s most exciting and heroic music including the thrilling Anvil Chorus. Jennifer Rowley will make her West Australian Opera debut as Leonora with Australia’s leading lyric tenor Rosario La Spina as Manrico. We are also delighted to welcome back mezzo-soprano Elizabeth Campbell in her role as the gypsy Azucena.


The stirring voices of the West Australian Opera Chorus and the superb instrumentalists of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra will join forces with us to present a season of opera featuring some of the greatest and most stimulating works in the repertory. I look forward to welcoming you personally to the 2014 season; it’s a season not to be missed!


Joseph Colaneri