IN a coup for the National Opera and its artistic director Peter Coleman-Wright, one of Australia’s foremost directors of opera and theatre, Gale Edwards, will take over the reins of its inaugural production, “La Rondine”.
The company has broken a long silence to confirm what has been talked about for weeks – new dates and a new director for its planned production of Puccini’s popular opera.
And not just that. In its original whirl of publicity at the National Portrait Gallery in early February, the fledgling company announced that it would stage the opera in Llewellyn Hall, but following negotiations with the Canberra Theatre it will now go ahead at the more production-friendly Playhouse in December this year.
Further negotiations with the theatre made it clear that those dates would not work for the Canberra Theatre, which was itself juggling postponed bookings, so performance dates were moved to late November.
But the dates proved unworkable for the contracted director Kate Gaul and conductor Stephen Mould, who subsequently withdrew, although all the singers, including Lorina Gore, Henry Choo, Georgia Wilkins, Daniel Todd and Adrian Tamburini, remained with the production.
Edwards’ presence will bring cache to the company. Her many productions for Opera Australia have included her long-running “La Bohème”, as well as “Carmen” and “Aida” for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour and “Salomé” last year.
It’s an ill wind…
“La Rondine”, Playhouse, November 24-28. A crowd-funding campaign has been set up at australianculturalfund.org.au, search for “National Opera”.