The Loves of Apollo and Dafne Returns To Australia

Pinchgut Opera’s first opera performance in over a year, directed by Mitchell Butel
With its flowing eloquence and laments of exquisite beauty, The Loves of Apollo & Dafne by Cavalli is a masterwork of the Italian Baroque.

Sydney, Australia: Pinchgut Opera begins rehearsals for its first fully staged opera in more than a year: a sensual pastoral fable drawn from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, The Loves of Apollo & Dafne by Francesco Cavalli.

Returning to Australia from London, stunning soprano Alexandra Oomens brings her exuberant beauty and pristine vocal lines to the role of Dafne, alongside captivating countertenor Max Riebl – who wowed audiences in 2019’s Farnace – as Apollo. This extraordinary all-Australian line up is completed by well-known and loved performers including Jacqueline Dark, Andrew O’Connor and David Hidden. Pinchgut also welcomes Stacey Alleaume in her company debut, following her stand-out performances in Opera Australia’s La Traviata, taking the roles that Taryn Fiebig was to have performed. As always, this stellar cast will be joined by the Orchestra of the Antipodes, led by Erin Helyard, to ensure Cavalli’s brilliance is delivered in all its ravishing glory.

Also making his Pinchgut debut, director Mitchell Butel promises a fresh, colourful take on Cavalli’s masterpiece for modern audiences by weaving our experiences of the past year into this mythological story of romance and yearning. ‘The more I delve into this beautiful, wry and poignant piece,’ says Butel, ‘with our wonderful cast, maestro, musicians and creative team, the more I love it. It offers such scope for virtuosic voices, playful characterisation, delicious design and a perfect exploration of how we all balance the divine and the heavenly with the earthly and the mischievous. And how love is at the centre of all our quests, in the end. We can’t wait to lead people into this enchanted garden of a show.’

The Loves of Apollo & Dafne (1640) was Cavalli’s second opera, written in a genre of music that was in its defining age. Cavalli let his creative genius soar offering a new vision of opera: an inspired marriage of words and music that reveals the inmost thoughts and feelings of gods and mortals alike.

‘The Loves of Apollo & Dafne,’ adds Artistic Director Erin Helyard, ‘is notable for its superb libretto by the great Busenello, who provided the lyrics for Monteverdi’s Coronation of Poppea. Cavalli’s opera, never performed in Australia before, has all the fresh and lively characteristics of early Venetian opera in its first flush, with heart-rending laments, joyous arias, comic scenes, and tragic soliloquies.’

This is the first time The Loves of Apollo and Dafne will be brought to the stage in Australia.

Thurs 20 May 7pm | Sat 22 May 2pm | Sun 23 May 5pm | Tues 25 May 7pm | Wed 26 May 7pm

2021 also marks the company’s 20th year: two decades and more than two dozen acclaimed productions since its inaugural production of Handel’s Semele in Sydney’s City Recital Hall in 2002.

Alexandra Oomens Dafne / Aurora
Max Riebl Apollo / Titone / Cirilla / Cefalo
Stacey Alleaume Amore / Itaton / Eco / Procris
Jacqueline Dark Morfeo / Venere / Filena / Musa
David Hidden Sonno / Alfesibeo / Pan
Andrew O’Connor Panto / Giove / Peneo

Orchestra of the Antipodes

Erin Helyard conductor
Mitchell Butel director
Jeremy Allen set designerdesigner
Melanie Liertz costume designer
Damien Cooper lighting designer

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