Victorian Opera will unveil the world premiere of three short chamber operas online this Saturday, after the cancellation of its scheduled presentation due to COVID-19. Featuring singer-songwriter Katie Noonan, Three Tales is a triple bill adaptation of Flaubert’s short story collection Trois Contes. Australian composers Zac Hurren, Dermot Tutty and Stefan Cassomenos have each written an opera based on an adaptation by playwright Daniel Keene.
“Commissioning, developing and staging new Australian opera is at the core of Victorian Opera’s purpose,” said VO Artistic Director Richard Mills. “Three Tales deftly illuminates the substance of Flaubert’s Three Tales; starkly realised images, the extremes of human experience, the deceptive and ever-changing nature of reality.”
“Adapting to current global circumstances, we felt an imperative to premiere the chamber opera when we would be gathered at the theatre enjoying its performance live,” Mills added.
Noonan will appear in one-woman work A Simple Heart, scored by Hurren and telling the story of a devoted servant called Felicité. Tutty’s The Legend of St Julian the Hospitaller follows a man’s journey from conquerer and hunter to compassionate hermit, while Cassomenos revisits the story of Salome and John the Baptist in Herodias.
The operas will be performed by Melbourne’s PLEXUS Ensemble, comprising Cassomenos on piano, violinist Monica Curro, and clarinettist Philip Arkinstall, with guest artist Greg Sully on percussion for Julian. Victorian Opera stalwarts Kathryn Radcliffe, Daniel Todd, Raphael Wong and Shakira Dugan round out the cast.
The recording is taken from a workshop performance presented by Victorian Opera in 2019, featuring new introductions by the composers, and will remain online for one week.