WHILE Canberra audiences are enjoying the “ACTEW Grand Gala: Verdi” this Saturday with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, I’ll be at Sydney Opera house watching Verdi’s great tragic opera “Otello,” featuring NZ singer Simon O’Neill in the title role.
Either way, it’s going to be a good night for opera – you can’t buy a ticket for love or money in Canberra, showing our continuing love affair with the art form, in spite of the fact that for many years we’ve had to be content with scaled-back productions from OzOpera and CoOpera.
Conducted by the mercurial director Nicholas Milton, the CSO has lined up Verdi’s greatest arias and engaged the 160 strong Canberra Choral Society Symphonic Chorus and two of Australia’s most respected opera singers, Antoinette Halloran and Argentine-born José Carbó, performing selections from “Aida,” “La traviata,” “Nabucco,” “Rigoletto” and other Verdi masterpieces.
The credential of both Halloran and Carbó are impeccable and both have recently had leading roles in productions of Verdi’s “La traviata.”
In 2013, Soprano Antoinette Halloran appeared in major operatic roles in Melbourne, Auckland and Wellington and featured as soloist with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Recently José Carbó has sung Anckarström in a new production of “Un ballo in maschera” for Opera Australia and Germont in OA’s “La traviata,” in which Limelight Magazine judges him to have been “dramatically convincing in all respects… His choices of textual inflections were astute, the overall arc of controlled dignity held throughout being the testament of a fine Verdian interpreter.”
Happily, the CSO and its regular partner, ACTEW Water, have the support of the Embassy of Italy for this event. No wonder, Verdi is a national hero and the composer whose music is sung by patriotic Italians every time they stand for their national anthem.
You would have to have been quick to get into this concert. All tickets were sold out by the beginning of May.
But never mind, says the orchestra’s Bjorn Pfeiffer, “we encourage you to book early to get great seats at the CSO’s next concert in August – “Firebird.”
For details of the next concert visit cso.org.au