Pinchgut Opera has announced its 2020 season, a mix of staged work and concerts, with centrepiece productions of Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Médée and George Frideric Handel’s Rinaldo.
“2020 continues the bold vision of this company as we present two of the finest baroque operas ever written, in conjunction with two concerts of magnificent choral repertoire,” said Artistic Director Erin Helyard, adding that “we are thrilled to return to Melbourne after the wonderful successes of our previous concerts, with a joyous program of celebratory works featuring Purcell and Charpentier.”
Pinchgut Opera Artistic Director Erin Helyard. Photo supplied
June will see a run of Charpentier’s Médée, a deeply searching work with a demanding lead role, that is widely considered the composer’s dramatic masterpiece. Mezzo-soprano Caitlin Hulcup will sing Médée, the woman who will go to the utmost lengths when cast over by her feckless lover. Acclaimed French haute-contre Cyril Auvity will make a welcome Australian appearance as her lover Jason with Alexandra Oomens, Andrew Finden and Adrian Tamburini also cast. Helyard will lead the Orchestra of the Antipodes and Cantillation in what will be the opera’s premiere performance in Australia.
Caitlin Hulcup as Médée. Photo supplied
December will see performances of Handel’s Rinaldo, a popular early work written for London, and one full of romance, magic and chivalry. Ensnared by the manipulative enchantress Armida, the crusader knight Rinaldo needs all the help he can get to rescue his kidnapped beloved Almirena. Countertenor Jake Arditti (last seen as Nero in 2017’s The Coronation of Poppea), returns to Australia to sing the title role with Emma Pearson as the sorceress Armida, countertenor Carlo Vistoli (last seen in Artaserse in 2018) in the role of Rinaldo’s King, Goffredo and Taryn Fiebig as Princess Almirena.
Pinchgut’s April concert, Splendour of Venice, will see Cantillation performing music from Allegri’s ubiquitous Miserere to the baroque splendour of the polychoral masterpieces of Monteverdi and Gabrieli. In September, it will then play both Sydney and Melbourne in a concert of music for royalty – both English and French – by Purcell and Charpentier. Written to celebrate the birthday of Queen Mary II, Purcell’s Come, Ye Sons of Art is rightfully one of his most celebrated works. Its French equivalent is Charpentier’s great Te Deum, a work written in honour of the Sun King, Louis XIV. Soloists include French soprano Myriam Arbouz, mezzo-soprano Anna Dowsley, tenor Nicholas Scott, baritone David Greco and bass Andrew O’Connor.