Before the year is out, Elena Kats-Chernin will have had world premieres at Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, Belgian National Opera, the Melbourne and Adelaide symphony orchestras and Berlin’s Komische Oper, plus the revival of a young people’s opera in Zurich. On 9 October, she will deliver this year’s Peggy Glanville-Hicks Address in Sydney, although how she finds the time is anyone’s guess.

Elena-Kats-Chernin sits at a piano, smiling. Handwritten musical manuscript sits stacked on top of it.

Elena-Kats-Chernin. Photo © Vicki Lauren

And there’s more. Later in October, opera lovers can enjoy her intriguing reimagining of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppea) first staged in Berlin in 2012 and now to be seen in a co-production between the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). 

It’s “a box of surprises”, says its conductor, Associate Professor Stephen Mould, Senior Lecturer in Conducting, Opera Studies and Repetiteurship at the Con.

Kats-Chernin didn’t start The Coronation of Poppea from scratch, but there wasn’t a lot to go on, as is...