2019 was a banner year for Pinchgut Opera. We were awarded Best Rediscovered Opera at the International Opera Awards in London for our world-premiere production of Hasse's Artaserse, and I was honoured to win a 2019 Helpmann Award for Best Music Direction for the same production.
2020 continues the bold vision of this company as we present two of the finest baroque operas in conjunction with two concerts of magnificent choral repertoire.
Charpentier’s Médée of 1693 has often been described as one of the greatest of all French baroque operas. It was the composer’s only work to be presented at the esteemed Académie Royale de Musique in his lifetime and it is a magnificent testament to the composer’s genius. The tortured sorceress Medea, who is betrayed by the man she loves and then exacts a ferocious vengeance, has long inspired artists. The libretto by Corneille is still considered today to be one of the great masterpieces of French poetry. This is a very rare opportunity to see this work on the stage, in all its glory, and in fact, this will be its Australian premiere.
One of the most successful operas in England was Handel’s Rinaldo (1711), which we are staging in our summer season. This has the distinction of being the very first opera in the Italian language specifically written for the London stage and it was also the work that secured Handel his enduring fame in the metropolis he chose to make his home. Receiving over fifty revivals in his lifetime, more than any of his other operas, Rinaldo is a vocal and instrumental spectacular that showcases all the glittering brilliance of opera from what many consider its golden age. This will be a Pinchgut production not to be missed.
In 2020 we also continue our extremely successful series of choral concerts. Our first is a celebration of the sublime polychoral music of Venice in the first decades of the seventeenth century, including Allegri's meditative Miserere. Pinchgut presents this profoundly moving music, created for the reverberant acoustics of San Marco in Venice, under the vaulted roof of the Great Hall of the University of Sydney with some of the greatest vocal and instrumental specialists in this repertoire.
Then in City Recital Hall we present two of the great Birthday Odes for Queen Mary by Henry Purcell – including Come, Ye Sons of Art, one of the composer's most buoyant and joyous works – together with the famous Te Deum of his French colleague Marc-Antoine Charpentier. With a crack ensemble of vocalists and the stunning Orchestra of the Antipodes, this concert will be a highlight of our year. I look forward to your company in 2020 for this unforgettable festival of English, French and Italian music.