With the cancellation of its world premiere new Australian work Three Tales, Victorian Opera will present the three short chamber operas online via its website and YouTube on Saturday 27 June at 7:30 pm. Featuring much-loved singer-songwriter Katie Noonan, the recording is from a workshop performance presented at Victorian Opera in September 2019 with new introductions from the composers.

Adapted from Gustave Flaubert’s prized collection of short stories Trois Contes (Three Tales), the new work assembles talented Australian composers Zac Hurren, Dermot Tutty and Stefan Cassomenos. The composers have brought their unique styles to one story each, all adapted by acclaimed Australian playwright Daniel Keene.

“Commissioning, developing and staging new Australian opera is at the core of Victorian Opera’s purpose,” reiterates Artistic Director Richard Mills. “Three Tales deftly illuminates the substance of Flaubert’s Three Tales; starkly realised images, the extremes of human experience, the deceptive and ever-changing nature of reality.”

“Adapting to current global circumstances, we felt an imperative to premiere the chamber opera when we would be gathered at the theatre enjoying its performance live,” Mills adds.

The story of devoted servant Felicité in A Simple Heart is realised by jazz saxophonist Hurren with Katie Noonan singing the one-woman work. Tutty explores the world of The Legend of St Julian the Hospitaller; following a man’s transformation from fierce conqueror and hunter to compassionate hermit. The story of Salome and John the Baptist is explored in Cassomenos’ Herodias.

The three compositionally diverse new Australian chamber operas are performed by virtuosic Melbourne ensemble PLEXUS, which consists of Cassomenos on piano, violinist Monica Curro and clarinettist Philip Arkinstall (with guest artist Greg Sully on percussion for Julian). In addition to Noonan, Victorian Opera regulars Kathryn Radcliffe, Daniel Todd, Raphael Wong and Shakira Dugan form the cast.

In development since 2017, the commissioned work was presented as a livestream performance at the conclusion of the first workshop in October that year.

The full recording of Three Tales will remain online for one week.

Image: Scott Whinfield

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