The Francesca Zambello production of La Traviata, which launched Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour in 2012, will return in 2020, Opera Australia announced today.
The 2012 Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour production of La Traviata. Photo © Lisa Tomasetti
Billed “a triumph” by Martin Buzacott in Limelight, Zambello’s production, which starred soprano Emma Matthews as Violetta, set Verdi’s beloved opera in 1950s Paris. “Critics were unanimous in their praise for a production that had so many unforgettable visual images associated with it,” Buzacott wrote. “From the fireworks at the end of the drinking song, to the high notes in Sempre Libera being sung mid-air above Sydney Harbour, and on to the party guests in Act Two arriving by water-taxi.”
The revival will involve some changes, however, with director Constantine Costi presenting a production based on Zambello’s, with the original designer Brian Thomson – whose runs on the board for HOSH have since included Carmen and this year’s box-office record-breaking production of West Side Story – returning with a new vision for the design. Thomson has confirmed, however, that he will be keeping the nine-metre-high crystal chandelier. Tess Schofield’s costumes will also return, while Shannon Burns – who danced in the original production, choreographed by Stephen Baynes – now returns as choreographer. Brian Castles-Onion will also return to conduct. The cast is yet to be announced.
“Bringing back La Traviata has a sense of nostalgia,” said Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini. “This event has come so far in the last nine years and has successfully brought the art of opera to so many new audiences. We are proud of what we have accomplished.”