Opera Australia has announced its cast for next year’s Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, which will see Francesca Zambello’s production of Verdi’s La Traviata return to the over-water stage.

Stacey Alleaume

The cast will be led by Australian-Mauritian soprano Stacey Alleaume, who will make her role debut as the tubercular courtesan Violetta. A familiar face to Australian audiences, Limelight’s Justine Nguyen praised her “sparkling soprano” in Werther in Sydney in February, Melbourne saw her sing Gilda in Rigoletto in May and she returns to Sydney later this year to make her role debut as Susanna in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.

“It brings me great joy to be singing this most treasured role,” Alleaume said. “Violetta’s story is one of great emotion, sacrifice and unconditional love but it is also heartbreakingly tragic. Performing in a harbour production is always special and I am so excited to step onto that stage for La Traviata.”

She shares the role with Sicilian soprano Jessica Nuccio, who sang Gilda for part of the run in last year’s Rigoletto. Kosovan tenor Ramé Lahaj returns to OA as Alfredo, a role he sung alongside Lorina Gore’s Violetta with the company in 2015, sharing the role with Australian Paul O’Neill, making his role debut.

Australian baritone Michael Honeyman, who just picked up a Helpmann for Best Male Actor for his performance in Wozzeck, sings Giorgio Germont, sharing the role with Argentine-Australian baritone José Carbó.

Rounding out the cast, Dominica Matthews is Flora, Danita Weatherstone is Annina and Nicholas Jones is Gastone. David Parkin sings Baron Douphol, Graeme Macfarlane is Marquis d’Obigny and Christopher Hillier sings Doctor Grenvil.

“This incredibly high-calibre cast shows just what Opera Australia is all about – we’ve got impressive new stars, long time favourites, and multiple award winners. This talented cast is definitely going to impress!” Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini said.

Opera Australia’s La Traviata on Sydney Harbour is at Fleet Steps, Mrs Macquarie’s Point, March 27 – April 26, 2020