The Classics: Opera

WEB - Opera.jpg

04 February 2017 - 04 February 2017

Next upcoming date: 7:30 PM - 9:30PM, 4 February 2017

Send off summer in style with a series of free outdoor concerts fit for cultural royalty. Held Saturdays throughout February, and featuring some of Australia’s most acclaimed music and vocal artists, the series opens with Opera in Prahran’s unique Victoria Gardens.

Murder, Madness and Mayhem

Featuring the best of Bel Canto including scenes from Rossini’s Barber of Seville, Donizetti’s Tudor operas and Bellini’s Norma, starring the iconic Emma Matthews. 

A Note from Artistic Director Suzanne Chaundy 

Bel canto (literally meaning beautiful song or singing) refers to the early decades of 19th-century Italian opera, when the works of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti dominated the operatic stages. After World War II bel canto enjoyed a popular revival with the emergence of a group of singers and conductors who breathed new life into the bel canto repertoire, notably Montserrat Caballé, Maria Callas and Australia’s Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge. Bel canto is enjoying another popular resurgence and we are thrilled to have some of Australia’s finest exponents appearing at The Classics: Opera, celebrating the beauty of the human voice.

Need more information? Check out the Frequently Asked Questions for Opera(PDF, 392KB).


Emma Web.jpg    

Emma Matthews 

Australia’s most highly awarded soprano, Emma Matthews, performs regularly with Opera Australia, all the state opera companies and the major Australian symphony orchestras and festivals.

Her operatic repertoire includes the title roles in The Cunning Little Vixen (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden), Lulu, Lakmé, Lucia di Lammermoor and Partenope; Violetta (La Traviata), Gilda (Rigoletto), Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare)Juliette (Roméo et Juliette), Marie (La Fille du Regiment) and Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail). Emma has three solo recordings, Emma Matthews in Monte Carlo (Deutsche Grammophon / ABC Classics), Mozart arias and recently release: Agony and Ecstasy (ABC Classics), with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Rosamund Illing-Web.jpg

Rosamund Illing 


Rosamund Illing is one of Australia’s most renowned sopranos. Her career spans the breadth of the repertoire for lyric soprano in opera, symphony and song. She has performed in England, France, Germany, Japan, the United States, Canada and Australia and her numerous recordings have been showered with accolades.

Graduating with honours from the University of Adelaide, Ms Illing continued her studies in England and Italy. She soon embarked on an impressive series of opera engagements with the Royal Opera House Covent Garden (as Musetta in La bohème with Placido Domingo as Rodolfo), English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Glyndebourne Touring Opera and at the Wexford Festival. In Australia, Ms Illing has performed with each of the state opera companies and Opera Australia.


Joslyn Rechter 

Mezzo Soprano        

Melbourne born Joslyn Rechter began her career as a Young Artist with Opera Australia, where she also was a member of the OzOpera touring company. After being awarded the Covent Garden Scholarship for further study in London, Joslyn was the recipient of the German Operatic Award for the Cologne Opera, where she was an ensemble member for four seasons before joining the Wuppertal Opera for nine seasons, and is now a critically acclaimed freelance artist throughout Germany and Europe. With a wide repertoire of roles ranging through operas by Monteverdi, Händel, Mozart, Wagner, Massenet and Strauss as well as Operetta and contemporary composers, Joslyn also works as a concert artist with many orchestras and chamber ensembles in Germany.

Henry Choo-Web.jpg

Henry Choo 


Regarded as one of Australia's finest lyric coloratura tenors, Henry originally trained as a pianist, violinist and boy soprano. He achieved an Associate Diploma in Singing and furthered his operatic studies at the Melba Conservatorium and the Australian National Academy of Music.

Major Opera roles include Nemorino (L'elisir D'amore), Tamino (The Magic Flute), Acis (Acis and Galatea), Almaviva (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Ferrando (Cosi fan tutte), Nadir (The Pearl Fishers), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), Lysander (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Nadir (The Pearl Fishers) and Italian Singer (Der Rosenkavalier). Henry has worked with the Symphony Orchestras of Melbourne, Sydney, Tasmania, Darwin, New Zealand, Christchurch, the Hong Kong Philharmonic, Orchestra Victoria, Sydney Philharmonia, Australia Ensemble and Auckland Bach Musica.  

Phillip Calcagno bio photo.jpg

Philip Calcagno 


Phillip studied singing in both Melbourne and Italy. Roles in Italy include Don Giovanni (Accademia d’Opera Italiana, Silvio Pagliacci and Germont La Traviata  (Rome Opera Festival).

Phillip’s operatic repertoire also includes Sciarrone Tosca, Belcore L’Elisir d’Amore and Ali The Italian Girl in Algiers. A popular frequent performer with Melbourne Opera, he has sung as Yamadori Madame Butterfly, Escamillo Carmen, Marcello La Boheme, Sir Ricardo I Puritani, Marquis D’Obigny La Traviata, The Count  Le nozze di Figaro, Sacristan Tosca,  Valentin Faust and Guglielmo Cosi Fan Tutte. Phillip has had raging success debuting Zurga in Melbourne Opera’s production of The Pearl Fishers, Figaro in The Barber of Seville, and most recently, Talbot in Mary Stuartand Rochefort inAnna Bolena


Timothy Newton


Timothy is a bass originally from Queensland. In 2016, he held the Stuart Leslie Opera Scholarship with the Melba Opera Trust. His recent performance highlights include Dr Grenvil in La Traviata, Olin Blitch in Floyd’s Susannah (Opera New England), Williamson’s Our Man in Havana (Lyric Opera of Melbourne) and Pagliacci (Victorian Opera Chorus). Timothy held the Val Vallis Memorial Scholarship at the Lisa Gasteen National Opera School in December. Later this year, he will perform Sarastro in the Magic Flute with Opera Australia’s Victorian School’s Tour, and undertake further study in Italy as recipient of the Acclaim Award.  


Mairi Nicolson 


Mairi Nicolson has worked for both the ABC and the BBC for more than 30 years, most recently for ABC Classic FM and Radio National as a broadcaster and arts journalist. She is currently the producer and presenter of Afternoons on ABC Classic FM.

Mairi also hosts ABC Classic FM’s popular Opera Show and live broadcasts from Melbourne, and coaches singers and musicians in Media and Communications skills.



Suzanne Chaundy 

Artistic Director          

Trained at NIDA as a director, Suzanne’s career has spanned opera, text-based theatre and outdoor spectacle. Her opera direction credits include The Marriage of Figaro, Don Pasquale, La Boheme, Werther, Cosi fan tutte, La Traviata, Der Freischütz, Maria Stuarda and The Abduction from the Seraglio. Recent theatre successes include In Between Two for the 2016 Sydney Festival, and Beyond The Neck & The Maids. Suzanne directed The field, the spheres & flight for Australia’s internationally renowned outdoor performance troupe Strange Fruit. Her productions have been performed in over 300 international festivals and events in more than 40 different countries.



Raymond Lawrence 

Music Director & Conductor          

Raymond graduated from Queensland Conservatorium of Music where he studied composition under Australian composer Gerard Brophy. Following his studies, he joined Opera Queensland's Young Artist Program as a repetiteur where he was also Music Director for their Moving Opera! Program and the company's touring schools production of Hansel and Gretel.

In 2011, Raymond relocated to Melbourne to take up the position of Head of Music and Chorus Master for Melbourne Opera. Raymond has also conducted performances of The Merry Widow, MO Verdi Gala, La Traviata, The Pearl Fishers and The Barber of Seville for Melbourne Opera. Since 2014, Raymond has been Musical Director of Opera Australia's Victorian Schools Tour.


Stage Designer          Christina Logan-Bell

Lighting Designer       Lucy Birkinshaw


Violin 1   Ben Spiers
Violin 2   Felicite Heine
Viola   Deborah Wirsu
Chello   Chris Raduly
Double Bass   Louis Stevens
Guitar   Will Salisbury
Flute 1   Vicki Stanko 
Flute 2   Kelly Williams
Clarinet 1   Kelli White
Clarinet 2   Lisa Clarke
Bassoon 1    Glenn Taylor
Bassoon 2   Sally Wickes
Oboe   Andrew Jacobs
 Horn 1   Phoebe Smithies
 Horn 2   Ella Jakins



Popstic Ice Cream
Bean to Melbourne
Toasta & Co.

Hosted and organised by the City of Stonnington

Fields marked as 'Required' must be completed

Enter your email address or your friend's email addresses all separated by commas.*(Required)

Event Details

Victoria Gardens, Prahran VIC

View on Map

8290 1333


Free community event

eNews Subscription

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive notifications of new and upcoming events.