Written By The Wagnerian on Wednesday, 22 August 2012 | 10:31:00 p.m.
WAGNER and Verdi stand like monoliths on the musical landscape next year, but the demands of staging the grandest of grand opera mean the national company will be presenting fewer mainstage opera productions.
Opera Australia artistic director Lyndon Terracini today unveils his 2013 season, with a five-opera Verdi festival in Sydney as a counterweight to the Melbourne Ring cycle.
Next year marks the birth bicentenary of both Richard Wagner and Giuseppe Verdi, giants of 19th-century opera.
A new production of Verdi's Un ballo in maschera from the provocative Spanish theatre company La Fura dels Baus headlines the Sydney season.
OA will also present Carmen on Sydney Harbour and, funding permitting, a television-only opera: Divorce, by composer Elena Kats-Chernin and librettist Joanna Murray-Smith.
"If we do it for television, we'll get about 80,000 people seeing it, and if we did it in the theatre we'd be lucky to get 6000," Terracini says.
The opera year is dominated by OA's first complete cycle of Wagner's four-part Der Ring des Nibelungen, a $15 million production to be directed by Neil Armfield. There is a waiting list for tickets. Three cycles will be presented at the State Theatre in November next year, constituting the entire Melbourne Spring season. Melburnians will see only three other operas next year: Ballo, Aida and Handel's Partenope.
The Sydney season includes new productions of Don Pasquale (directed by Roger Hodgman), Tosca (John Bell) and La forza del destino (Tama Matheson), but there are fewer operas overall: down from 12 last year to 10 next year.