Music, Classical and opera
A masquerade ball scene from Verdi's opera Ernani
Photograph: Supplied/Opera Australia

Time Out says

Verdi's little-seen masterpiece gets a flamboyant staging at the Sydney Opera House

Opera Australia has wasted no time since emerging after the end of the Great Indoors. The company launched into the new year with the fabulously jolly japes of The Merry Widow and followed that up with a beginner’s guide to the artform with the lush megamix of Great Opera Hits. Now the team are really spoiling us with the rare treat that is an invite to the lavish costumed ball that is Verdi’s rarely performed masterpiece Ernani.

The show depicts the trials of the eponymous outlaw rogue, a man of honour ready to fight and die for his ideals, who’s ready to stand and deliver. Things get even more complicated when he falls head over silken heels for Elvira, promised to her elderly uncle (ewwwww, Game of Thrones, ewwwww) and also lusted after by the King of Spain himself. What could possibly go wrong?

The first opera ever recorded in full, some 70 years after Verdi composed it, it’s a rollicking story that’s less well known simply because it’s one of the most difficult, technically, to pull off. But Opera Australia, much like Ernani himself, are ready to rise to the challenge. They’ve tapped two of country’s finest performers in Diego Torre and Natalie Aroyan to lead the Australian premiere of director Sven-Eric Bechtolf’s glittering show, a co-production with Milan’s Teatro alla Scala. Expect sumptuous sets and costume design and a soaring musical performance conducted by Renato Palumbo.

“It’s the second co-production we’ve done with Teatro alla Scala after the tremendous success of Attila in Sydney last year,” Opera Australia’s artistic director Lyndon Terracini says of Ernani. “It was the most popular of Verdi’s early works, so it’s way overdue for its Opera House premiere.”

Wanna dip your toes in? Try out Great Opera Hits here


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