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Sydney Gets a Glimpse of Its New Harbour-Top Opera

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SYDNEY /PRNewswire/ — GIANT LETTERS SPELLING OUT ‘CARMEN’ NOW ADORN AN OPERA STAGE THAT APPEARS TO FLOAT ON SYDNEY HARBOUR. The creative vision for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: Carmen has been revealed with the final ‘C’ of six giant letters spelling out ‘CARMEN’ now in place on the harbour-top opera stage. The spectacular Spain-Meets-Hollywood style stage will set the scene of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: Carmen, which opens Friday 22 March for three weeks only.

Finishing touches are unveiled today, on the magnificent set of Opera on Sydney Harbour: Carmen, which opens on Fri 22 March. More info at
The Hollywood-inspired Carmen letters measure a staggering 9 metres high and 25 metres wide. When the production opens next Friday 22 March, they will be spot-lit by lighting towers on and around the main stage during the production. The scaffolding supporting the letters doubles as a structure for the singers and dancers to climb and perform from during the show. The stage itself is 32 metres by 24 metres and resembles a round, blood-stained bullfighting ring. It sits on a platform supported by 16 pylons sunk into Sydney Harbour.
The Carmen letters will cut an imposing silhouette across Sydney Harbour for the duration of the production, 22 March – 12 April. It positively dwarfs Australian icons such as the Big Banana and Big Pineapple in scale.
The letters symbolise the glamorous, seductive facade of Carmen and will be seen in all their glossy glory by visitors looking across the harbour from the Sydney Opera House, by joggers around the Royal Botanic gardens, by commuters driving across the Harbour Bridge, or those travelling by ferry (or cruise ship!) on Sydney Harbour. The audience will see the letters in reverse, signifying the seedy underworld in which the gypsies’ underhanded activities take place at the tobacco factory in Seville, Spain.
The Carmen set features other spectacular effects including a life-sized slaughtered bull (post bull-fight) and fireworks. Dancers will whirl about the stage in sparkling Spain-meets-Hollywood flamenco costumes, bringing colour and movement to the blood-red stage.
Some of the world’s best opera talents have converged in Sydney to perform in Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: Carmen. Hailing from Sydney, Perth and Tasmania in Australia, from New York and Memphis in the USA and even from the Ukraine, this is a truly global cluster of opera stars. When the show opens, they’ll have had just over four weeks to bring this brand new outdoor production to perfection, ahead of the opening night on Friday 22 March when they will perform on Australia’s most unique opera stage, atop the water of Sydney Harbour. A nightly audience of 3,000 seated at the edge of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney will enjoy tapas, paella, Spanish BBQ and cocktails in luxury, while they watch the drama of Carmen unfold beneath the stars.
Who’s Who (two casts – ‘Bolero’ and ‘Flamenco’)
CARMEN (Bolero cast): Rinat Shaham – Israeli-born, New York-based mezzo soprano
CARMEN is a fiery gypsy and femme fatale. She sings the famous aria, ‘Habanera’ and dances the seductive ‘Seguidilla’
Born in Israel, Rinat Shaham has been one of the world’s most acclaimed Carmens having done 37 different productions since her debut in the Glyndebourn Festival in 2004. She performed the title role for Opera Australia in 2011 to great acclaim, both in the Sydney Opera House and The Domain. She has also sung Carmen in Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, Rome, Montreal, Miami, Tel Aviv, New York, New Orleans, Cologne, Toronto, Vancouver, Baden-Baden and many other centres. Known for her drama and her versatility, she sings opera, classical and jazz and has performed in films also. Performing 22, 24, 27, and 30 March, and 2, 4, 6, 9 and 11 April.
ESCAMILLO (Bolero cast): Andrew Jones – Sydney’s favourite young bass
ESCAMILLO is the swashbuckling matador who steals Carmen’s heart. He sings the famous aria in the bullring, known as ‘The Toreador Song’
Andrew Jones was a smash hit as the comical and charismatic Papageno in Opera Australia’s production of The Magic Flute which toured Australia in 2012! Fast becoming Sydney’s favourite young baritone, Andrew has built up an impressive list of credits with Australia’s leading performing arts organisations including acclaimed performances as Escamillo in Carmen at the Sydney Opera House in 2011. Performing 22, 24, 27 and 30 March, 2, 4, 6, 9 and 11 April.
Micaela (Bolero cast): Nicole Car – young Sydney star soprano
Micaela is the childhood sweetheart of Don Jose, heart-broken by his betrayal
Nicole Car is one of Australia’s most outstanding young sopranos. Originally from Melbourne where she completed her Bachelor of Music at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2007 frequently performs principal roles with the national company. Nicole most recently won acclaim as Mimi in La boheme, also directed by Gale Edwards for Opera Australia. Performing 22, 24, 27 and 30 March, 2, 4, 6, 9 and 11 April.
DON JOSE (Bolero cast): Dmytro Popov – Ukrainian tenor
DON JOSE is a soldier and Micaela’s lover, who is seduced by Carmen
Ukrainian tenor Dmytro Popov began his international career in 2004 and has since then had a busy travelling operatic life, most notably stepping onto The Met (NY) stage at the last minute to perform the role of Rodolfo in La boheme, in January 2013. Dmytro Popov was a prize winner at Plácido Domingo’s 2007 Operalia World Contest in Paris. Performing 22, 27, 30 March, and 2, 4, 6, 11 April.
CARMEN (Flamenco cast): Milijana Nikolic – Serbian-born, Australian-based mezzo soprano
CARMEN is a fiery gypsy and femme fatale. She sings the famous aria, ‘Habanera’ and dances the seductive ‘Seguidilla’
This summer Milijana Nikolic has won the hearts and praise of Sydney audiences for her performance in Il Trovatore at the Sydney Opera House. Only three months after the birth of her first child she returned to the stage more powerful than ever to deliver her best performance yet. Clearly at her prime Milijana will alternate in the role of Carmen. Performing 23, 26, 28 and 31 March, and 3, 5, 7, 10 and 12 April.
DON JOSE (Flamenco cast): Adam Diegel – Tenor from Memphis, Tennessee USA
DON JOSE is a soldier and Micaela’s lover who is seduced by Carmen
A native of Memphis, Tennessee, and a regular at The Met in NYC, Adam Diegel is renowned for an impassioned dramatic sense, powerful voice, and for his classic leading looks in the lyric tenor repertoire. He trained at Yale University and is a graduate of the University of Memphis. Performing 23, 26, 28, 31 March, and 3, 5, 7, 10, 12 April.
Micaela (Flamenco cast): Sharon Prero – glamorous Tasmanian soprano
Micaela is the young wife of Escamillo, heart-broken by his betrayal
Australian soprano Sharon Prero began her music career as a concert flautist. At 15, she toured New Zealand performing Bach’s Suite in B Minor to great acclaim. Her love of the stage inspired her change of direction; and she was finalist in the Australian Singing Competition, the German Operatic Awards, the Metropolitan Opera Awards and the ABC Young Performers’ Award. Performing 23, 26, 28 and 31 March, and 3, 5, 7, 10 and 12 April.
ESCAMILLO (Flamenco cast): James Clayton – Perth’s star bass
ESCAMILLO is the swashbuckling matador who steals Carmen’s heart. He sings the famous aria in the bullring, known as ‘The Toreador Song’
James Clayton is one of the leading singers to emerge from Western Australia in recent years singing a wide range of repertoire. Recent engagements as a soloist have included Haydn’s Mass in Time of War and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria (Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra), Faure’s Requiem (Collegum Symphonic Choir), Mozart’s Mass in C Minor and Orff’s Carmina Burana (West Australian Symphony Orchestra). Performing 23, 26, 28 and 31 March, and 3, 5, 7, 10 and 12 April.
General Information
Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour is proudly supported by the NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW. Opera Australia is working in conjunction with Destination NSW to attract audiences from interstate and across the globe to Australia’s major events capital, Sydney, to experience this spectacular and unique opera event. Around 360 performers, staff and crew will be on site to operate the venue and deliver each performance.
Opera Australia’s Artistic Director, Lyndon Terracini says, “Opera Australia is proud to showcase such a strong international cast in this world class production of Carmen. This year’s production of Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: Carmen is set to continue the tradition established in 2012 of attracting interstate and international audiences to this uniquely Sydney event, which is unlike anything you can experience anywhere else in the world.”
The music of George Bizet’s Carmen is instantly recognisable, with its rousing overture, soaring arias and heart-stirring choruses. This spectacular new outdoor production features a steeply raked stage measuring 32 x 24 metres. The custom-designed stage will literally sit over the water and resemble a blood-stained bullfighting ring. Giant Hollywood-style letters will spell out Carmen as part of the set, measuring a staggering 13 metres high and 25 metres wide. The illuminated blood-red letters will be impossible to miss as they beam across the Harbour from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. This is the second year that Opera Australia has presented the outdoor opera event, Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, which won four Helpmann Awards and two Australian Event Awards for its inaugural staging of La Traviata in 2012. This year promises to be even better with a stellar international cast, more fireworks and spectacular sets, costumes, dancing and singing.
Carmen Don Jose Escamillo
Rinat Shaham / Milijana Nikolic Dmytro Popov / Adam Diegel Andrew Jones/ James Clayton
Micaela David Corcoran
Nicole Car / Sharon Prero

Conductor Set Designer Lighting Designer Choreographer
Brian Castles-Onion Brian Thomson John Rayment Kelley Abbey
Director Costume Designer Site Designer
Gale Edwards Julie Lynch Eamon D’Arcy
TICKETS from A$79 – $325
Opera Australia: +61-2-9318-8200 /
Ticketmaster: +61-2-8512-9020 /
Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour: Carmen
22 March – 12 April
Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney
Images, video footage and additional media releases can be downloaded from:
Twitter: @operaonharbour / #harbouropera
Georgia McKay
Imogen Corlette
Source: Opera Australia

Written by asiafreshnews

March 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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