Andy Morton will direct a brand new production of Puccini’s popular opera for 2018’s Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour.

Opera Australia has announced that next year’s Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour (HOSH) will be a brand new production of Puccini’s La Bohème. The production will be directed by Andy Morton, who this year directed the revival of Gale Edwards’ HOSH production of Carmen.

Opera Australia has confirmed to Limelight that Japanese businessman and philanthropist (and ordained Shinto priest) Dr Haruhisa Handa, who has funded the outdoor opera event that bears his name since the first production, La Traviata in 2012, has committed funding for another three years.

Brian Castles-Onion, a veteran of HOSH, will conduct the new production, while sets and costumes will be designed by Dan Potra, who has previously worked on Turandot on Sydney Harbour and Sydney Opera House – The Opera in 2016.

Morton has been involved with the past five Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour productions, but this will be his first time directing a new production for the event. His revival of Gale Edwards’ Carmen this year was not without controversy, with members of the original creative team criticising Opera Australia for refusing to invite them back for the revival and for making changes to the production.

La Bohème will be the seventh Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, with Opera Australia presenting La Traviata in 2012, Carmen in 2013, Madama Butterfly in 2014, Aida in 2015 and Turandot last year. It will be performed in Italian with English and simplified Chinese subtitles.

“Watching this production evolve over the past six years has certainly been an exciting time. To see all the elements come together so spectacularly each year and to see how much joy it brings to the audiences, who have really taken it to their hearts, it’s been incredibly satisfying,” Opera Australia’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini said.

The event, which has attracted more than 250,000 attendees over the last six years, is also supported by the NSW Government, through Destination NSW.

“Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is one of the State’s great major event success stories, attracting new audiences to opera and visitors to NSW each year,” said NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall. “The event has become revered as one of the world’s greatest outdoor operas, with more than 57,000 domestic and international overnight visitors travelling to Sydney to enjoy this spectacular event since 2012.”

“It’s no wonder the event has become such a hit with locals and tourists alike,” said Terracini. “With its harbour-side setting, spectacular views of the famous Sydney skyline, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, along with a monumental set, stunning costumes, world-class performers and a nightly burst of fireworks, it’s an unforgettable experience.”

La Bohème – Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour will play March 23 – April 22


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