Baroque opera is increasingly popular in Australia, particularly in recent years through the work of Pinchgut Opera. This administratively tiny company has presented a series of distinguished and acclaimed productions in Sydney’s Recital Hall. The company returns from June 15 with two works by Jean-Philippe Rameau : Anacréon and Pigmalion. Rameau (1683-1764) is a major figure in the development of opera. His was an unusual career; initially a provincial organist with an abiding interest in musical theory. His Treatise on Harmony , published in 1722 to considerable success, brought him to Paris and he never left. But he was late to opera, not composing his first until 1733 at the age of 50. Opera brought him fame and success. His operas of the late baroque were more musically complex and dramatically integrated than those which had preceded them; his are the link to the ‘classical’ period operas of Mozart and others.
Pigmalion (1748) and Anacréon (1757) are outstanding examples of what were known as actes de ballet. The Artistic Director and conductor, Erin Helyard describes them as ‘witty, short, melodious and packed with contrast’. They will be staged by Crystal Manich who directed Haydn’s Armida last year. An attractive cast will be led by star soprano Taryn Fiebig, bass Richard Anderson, and rising English tenor Samuel Boden. Between the two works will be an intermezzo by Vinci which promises fun and musical pleasure.
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