A story of friendship and forgiveness comes to Canberra

Sharon Kelley 31 March 2021
Andrew Barrow

Andrew Barrow at rehearsal with the National Opera, which is gearing up for their inaugural year. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

We all need a little escapism, particularly after the past 12 months so the long-awaited National Opera production of La Clemenza di Tito, an extraordinary story of a classic struggle for a throne with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, may be just the thing to lift your soul.

National Opera will perform La Clemenza di Tito at the ANU School of Music’s Llewellyn Hall without microphones as the renowned acoustics of the theatre will ensure the performers can be clearly heard.

The cast is all Australian, with highly sought-after, internationally recognised Australian performers arriving back in the country on repatriation flights and entering quarantine in preparation for the performance.

Bradley Daley will be in the role of Tito, while Catherine Carby will play Sesto, and Vitellia will be played by Helena Dix.

Servilia will be portrayed by Mikayla Tate, and Eleanor Greenwood has been cast as Annio. Publio will be performed by Andrew Collis.

Catherine Carby, Eleanor Greenwood and Andrew Collis are all homegrown talents who studied in Canberra before embarking on national and international careers. Aspiring, young Canberra opera performers will form the chorus while the Canberra Symphony Orchestra will perform what is considered Mozart’s finest instrumental work.

Tristan Entwistle

La Clemenza di Tito is considered by many to be Mozart’s finest instrumental work. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

La Clemenza di Tito was one of the last compositions written by Mozart, premiering at the Estates Theatre in Prague on 6 September 1791. Mozart accepted the commission to write the new work to celebrate the coronation of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor as King of Bohemia.

Canberra audiences will be able to lose themselves in Mozart’s music and with the singers fabulously costumed by the talented Victoria ‘Fi’ Hopkins, it will be easy to escape, just for a few hours, into the world of a Roman emperor and a tale of friendship and forgiveness, triumphing over jealousy and violence.


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National Opera Artistic Director Peter Coleman-Wright says he is relieved to be launching the company’s first production, intended to be staged last year but delayed due to the pandemic.

“2020 was an extremely challenging year for the arts and the hardest-hit industry of COVID-19’s economic destruction,” Mr Coleman-Wright says.

“Despite the hardships, the talent we worked with at National Opera all maintained their optimism and resilience, and we were able to curate and grow a family of incredibly talented performers, knowing that it was only a matter of time before we could share the fruits of our labour with the local community.

“The opera is about Tito, an emperor who reigned for a few years and built the colosseum, who was always considered a fair leader. Mozart was commissioned to write this stunning piece. The Canberra Symphony Orchestra has an incredible conductor, Dane Lam, so the music will be wonderful.

“National Opera is a national institution that we want Canberrans to embrace. It’s a company that belongs to Canberra, and we want people to come along and support such a major undertaking.”

Katrina Wiseman

Katrina Wiseman from National Opera, rehearsing for the pocket opera Le Nozze di Figaro. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

National Opera, previously Canberra Opera, is a Canberra-based arts organisation and registered charity, providing opportunities for artists to develop and perform their craft, with the aim of fostering a national and local community of opera enthusiasts and building a sustainable operation to support opera artists of the future.

Turn a trip to the opera into a weekend experience. National Opera is offering three exclusive packages for La Clemenza di Tito including an Opera and Dinner Package specifically designed for ACT and surrounds locals. This package includes dinner for two at a local fine dining restaurant and two A Reserve tickets to the opera available for redemption at any of the four-opera performances.

National Opera’s inaugural season of La Clemenza di Tito will begin on 10 April, with further performances on 13 April and 15 April. A matinee performance will be held at 2:00 pm on 17 April.

Tickets are available online at National Opera.

Peter Coleman

Artistic director of the National Opera Peter Coleman-Wright. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.


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