Melbourne Opera presents
Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera
14, 15, 17 March & 18 March (matinee and evening performance) at The Athenaeum Theatre
22 April at Monash University’s Robert Blackwood Hall
Melbourne Opera is bringing Gilbert & Sullivan (G&S) hilarity back to Melbourne, with a new production of H.M.S. Pinafore gallivanting onto The Athenaeum stage from 14 March.
One of the most celebrated comic operas of all time, H.M.S. Pinafore is being staged due to public demand.
The production will star charismatic comedian, entertainer and opera singer David Gould as Sir Joseph Porter (acclaimed for his brilliant performances as Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville and Njegus in The Merry Widow) and internationally renowned singer Claire Lyon (The Phantom of the Opera World Tour), who will make her Melbourne Opera debut in the lead role of Josephine.
Tickets to H.M.S. Pinafore are on sale now via Ticketek.
Since its premiere in 1878, Gilbert and Sullivan’s wildly popular H.M.S. Pinafore has continuously delighted audiences with a tale of star-crossed lovers on the seven seas. Global G&S aficionado Robert Ray is directing Melbourne Opera’s new production.
“H.M.S Pinafore captivated such a cult following that it sparked no less than seven rival productions when it was first performed on Broadway. Many composers have come and gone over time, but somehow G&S works have never left the stage, which is a testament to the pure entertainment value they offer,” says director Robert Ray, who has worked with international opera superstars such as Dame Joan Sutherland and Placido Domingo, and directed award-winning productions at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival.
The rollicking farce features many of Gilbert and Sullivan’s best loved comic songs, arias and choruses in a scintillating and timeless send up of the British class system.
The tale of H.M.S. Pinafore begins with Captain Corcoran of the good ship H.M.S. Pinafore whose daughter, Josephine, is in love with a lowly but gallant sailor Ralph Rackstraw. The Captain forbids the match and intends her to marry the well-bred Sir Joseph Porter, First Lord of the Admiralty but finds himself in a similar position when his former nanny, Little Buttercup, falls in love with him before, as in many of the G&S operas, a surprise disclosure changes things dramatically.
An all-star cast led by David Gould has been assembled for Melbourne’s first professional production of H.M.S. Pinafore in over 20 years.
Internationally-recognised soprano Claire Lyon joins the cast following her lead role in The Phantom of the Opera World Tour, principal roles with Opera Australia, a Helpmann Award nomination for her role in John Frost & Opera Australia’s Anything Goes and a Green Room nominated performance in The Production Company’s Broadway version of The Pirates of Penzance at Hamer Hall.
Starring alongside David and Claire is celebrated tenor David Roger-Smith as the gentlemanly Captain Corcoran and Paul Biencourt as Ralph Rackstraw, following a highly praised performance in 2016 as Pedrillo in The Abduction from the Seraglio. Multi-award winning soprano Andrea Creighton will take on the role of Little Buttercup fresh from playing Carlotta Guidicelli in the Phantom of the Opera World Tour.
Other cast includes Roger Howell as the blunt-spoken Dick Deadeye, Jodie Debono and Cheryl Darvidis playing the aristocratic Cousin Hebe, Finn Gilheany as Bill Bobstay and Roland Seidl as Bob Becket.
The fun and frivolity will be brought to life with set and costume design by Greg Carroll, who is no stranger to nautical tales, having played Hermes in the cult hit TV show Ship to Shore before a noteworthy career as a director and designer.
Melbourne Opera maestro Greg Hocking and Head of Music Raymond Lawrence will conduct the distinguished cast, 30 strong Melbourne Opera chorus and 32 piece Melbourne Opera orchestra.
Gilbert and Sullivan’s Savoy operas were a major influence on modern musical theatre, while G&S songs feature in the background of countless movies and TV shows. G&S characters have pervaded Western culture so much they taken on lives beyond the stage, memorialized by news outlets, while lines and quotes from G&S operas have become part of the English language. One of the most quoted quotes from H.M.S. Pinafore is Sir Joseph Porter’s exclamation to “stick close to your desk and never go to sea and you all may be rulers of the Queen’s navee.”
Melbourne Opera, which receives no government funding, is Victoria’s busiest opera company, staging three or four full-scale main stage productions and many concerts each year. The company gives emerging singers and musicians invaluable professional experience in the company of distinguished experienced artists. As well as mainstream repertoire, Melbourne Opera also presents many lesser-known masterpieces.
Melbourne Opera’s 2017 season is dedicated to the memory of Richard Divall AO OBE. The company’s second season will see international star Marius Vlad return to the Regent Theatre for a new production of Wagner’s Lohengrin from 7 August, the first time the opera has been performed Melbourne for 25 years. The third installment of MO’s Donizetti Tudor trilogy, Roberto Devereux, will come to life at The Athenaeum from 11 November starring Rosamund Illing as Queen Elizabeth I.
Melbourne Opera completed a triumphant sold out concert tour of China in January 2017, with an encore season on Boxing Day 2017.