‘Rodelinda’ revival commemorates Dame Joan


Celebrating the extraordinary life and career of Dame Joan Sutherland on the second anniversary of her death, Maestro Richard Bonynge returns to Sydney to conduct a single performance of Handel’s opera Rodelinda, presented by the Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Foundation.

Rodelinda was Handel’s 7th full-length opera. Composed for the Royal Academy, he was enjoying tremendous popularity at the time with the prior successes of Tamerlano and Giulio Cesare. Fourteen performances during its premiere season were followed by several revivals. The opera is acclaimed for its narrative, realistic and well painted characters and music which travels through a gamut of emotions from pathos and passion to defiance and rage.

Inexplicably, its popularity waned to obscurity until the 20th century when it was revived.  Dame Joan Sutherland sang the title role in the Handel Opera Society’s London production on the Handel bicentenary in 1959. She later recorded it with her acclaimed colleagues Huguette Tourangeau and Samuel Ramey, and the Welsh National Opera Orchestra conducted by Richard Bonynge.

Maestro Bonyge will be conducting an ensemble of singers who include Valda Wilson as Rodelinda, Fiona Janes as Bertarido,  John Longmuir as Grimoaldo, Liane Keegan as Eduige,  Lorina Gore as Unulfo and Michael Lewis as Garibaldo. performing with them is the Sydney Lyric Orchestra whose members include flautist Jane Rutter and pianist Sharolyn Kimmorley. This is the first professional performance of Rodelinda in Sydney.

The performance carries a special poignancy as Valda Wilson was chosen by Richard Bonynge as the featured soloist at the Service of Thanksgiving for Dame Joan Sutherland at Westminster Abbey with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, under Antonio Pappano.  The Sydney born soprano completed a Diploma of Opera at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and travelled to London’s  National Opera Studio on a scholarship from the Opera Foundation, Australia to attend the masters’ course. From 2010 to 2012 Valda Wilson was a member of the Junges Ensemble der Semperoper Dresden where some of her roles included Pamina and Papagena in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte , Inez iin Verdi’s Il trovatore, Jennie Hildebrand in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene and ‘Judith’ in a modern production of Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas.

Valda was a member of the Young Singers Project at the 2012 Salzburg Festspiel. After her appearances in Sydney, she returns to Europe for performances in France and Italy of Mozart’s Mass in C minor with the Orchestre des Champs Elysées conducted by Philippe Herreweghe, and the Barrandov Opera Christmas Gala concerts.

Tickets: $60-$105. Concessions are available (additional fees may apply).

Bookings: www.cityrecitalhall.com or by phone on (02) 8256 2222 or in person at City Recital Hall 2. Angel Place, Sydney.


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