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Pinchgut Opera Presents Australian Premiere Of Orontea

May 26, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - June 1, 2022 @ 7:00 pm

Pinchgut Opera fans have another terrific musical event to look forward to with the Australian debut of Antonio Cesti’s Orontea, one of the most popular operas of the 17th century. Superstar mezzo-soprano, Anna Dowsley returns to Australia from Germany to sing the title role of this charming and wickedly funny Baroque opera.

Comprising a prologue and three acts, Orontea premiered in Innsbruck in 1656 and has the distinction of being one of the first operas to deal with real people, rather than gods or immortals who possess unbelievable powers. A comedy of errors, misplaced love and sexual ambiguity provide the perfect canvas for this love story crafted with sophistication, wit and charm by two great collaborators: Cesti, the leading operatic composer of his day, and Cicognini, the talented librettist who created the other smash hit of the 17th century with Cavalli in Giasone, which Pinchgut performed in 2013. Cesti’s melodic inventiveness combines with Cicognini’s clever and comic libretto in this new production which is also the Australian premiere of the opera.

Queen Orontea, says Artistic Director Erin Helyard, is “an outstanding figure of operatic brilliance: intensely human in her emotions yet torn between these emotions and her sense of duty. Her set piece at the end of Act II is one of the great highlights of the Italian Baroque. Orontea’s success both then and now is its fast-paced and natural sense of comedy and drama.

The cast: Mezzo-soprano Anna Dowsley and basses David Greco, Andrew O’Connor; tenor Jonathan Abernethy, soprano Sofia Troncoso and mezzo-soprano Dominica Matthews will make their Pinchgut Opera debuts.

Constantine Costi will direct Orontea in his first main-stage opera for Pinchgut, after a rich creative partnership realising Pinchgut’s opera film A Delicate Fire (2020). One of the most exciting in the next generation of creatives in Australia, Costi has enjoyed recent acclaim as revival director
for La Juive for Opera Australia and director of a double bill by Kurt Weill, Seven Deadly Sins and Mahagonny Songspiel for Red Line Productions at the Old Fitz Theatre in Sydney.

Costi sets the scene for his interpretation of Orontea: “Sex, pleasure and power all come to a head in a court that is upside down. This opera comedy is about rich and powerful people behaving badly and the ways that love makes us crazy.”

Pinchgut Opera will present five performances of Orontea at City Recital Hall in Sydney. Orontea will also be professionally filmed and available to enjoy later in 2022 on Pinchgut At Home. Visit athome.pinchgutopera.com.au for more information.

Thurs 26 May, 7pm | Sat 28 May, 2pm | Sun 29 May, 5pm | Tues 31 May, 7pm| Wed 1 June, 7pm
Tickets from $59 are on sale now at pinchgutopera.com.au.
Creatives: Conductor Erin Helyard/ Director Constantine Costi/ Designer Jeremy Allen/ Costune Designer Sabina Meyers/ Lighting Designer Damien Cooper/ Choreographer/ Movement Director Shannon Burns
Cast: ORONTEA Anna Dowsley/ ALIDORO Jonathan Abernethy/SILANDRA Sofia Troncoso/ CORINDO Douglas Kelly/ CREONTE David Greco/ ARISTEA Dominica Matthews/ GIACINTA Roberta Diamond/ TIBRINO Louis Hurley/ GELONE Andrew O’Connor

Orchestra of the Antipodes