Commissioned in the wake of COVID-19, Victorian Opera premieres two new Australian operas, double bill Echo and Narcissus / Cassandra at Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse from 17 – 20 March. The production will be streamed globally on Friday 19 March at 7:30pm, available live and ondemand.
Echo, a talkative nymph of the forest, is in love with Narcissus, who only loves himself. After she is rejected, Echo retreats to the caves, doomed to forever repeat only the words she hears. Narcissus is unable to tear himself away from his own reflection and turns into a flower on the riverbank.
The gift of prophecy becomes a curse when no one believes you. Cassandra foresees that the Trojan horse will lead to the downfall of her people, but her warnings go unheeded. The gods show mortals who’s boss.
Two local composer/librettist teams reflect prescient truths in these ancient myths. Composer Kevin March and librettist Jane Montgomery Griffiths explore Echo and Narcissus, while composer Simon Bruckard and librettist Constantine Costi retell Cassandra.
Bruckard, who also conducts the double bill, received a Green Room Award for Musical Achievement (New Australian Opera) for his first opera – The Selfish Giant; commissioned by Victorian Opera and staged in October 2019.
Award-winning director Sam Strong realises the double bill alongside an acclaimed creative team, including set and costume designer Anna Cordingley, lighting designer Paul Jackson and sound designer Jim Atkins.
Victorian artists form the cast with soprano Kathryn Radcliffe and baritone Nathan Lay performing the title roles of Echo and Narcissus alongside a female chorus. Mezzo-soprano Shakira Dugan performs the title role as Cassandra, joined by tenor Samuel Sakker as Apollo and baritone Simon Meadows as Priam.
Richard Mills, Artistic Director of Victorian Opera, commissioned this double bill to crucially accommodate social distancing precautions with a minimal cast and orchestra sizes and the intent to stream the production.
Limited tickets remain to the performance season.
Echo and Narcissus / Cassandra
Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse | 17, 19, 20 March
1 h 40, one interval | Sung in English with English surtitles
Tickets from $39 – $95
Steam on Friday 19 March, 7:30pm – live and on-demand