Season Preview: Your guide to the arts in 2024

“Opera, at its heart, is great storytelling through music,” says WA Opera Artistic Director Chris van Tuinen. “And what speaks better to the human condition than a story shared, enjoyed, reflected on, and cherished?”

Stories of connection and of coming together through art are driving West Australian Opera in 2024, beginning with a world premiere that couldn’t be made anywhere else – Wundig wer Wilura.

Jarred Wall and Jess Hitchcock: Wundig wer Wilura. Image supplied

Created by award-winning WA songwriters and storytellers Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse and sung entirely in Noongar, this production – a keystone production of the already announced 2024 Perth Festival – draws on an ancient story of a young couple whose love for each other defies ‘wrong-skin’ law and custom. The production is directed by Matt Reuben James Ward (La bohème, Koolbardi wer Wardong), conducted by Aaron Wyatt (Speechless), and stars Jarred Wall (Koolbardi wer Wardong) as Wundig and Jess Hitchcock (The Visitors) as Wilura.

Perth Festival goers will also see the West Australian Opera Chorus feature in Sir Jonathan Mills’ opera Eucalyptus – an adaptation of Murray Bail’s Miles Franklin Award-winning novel – in Perth Concert Hall on 22 February.

From 9–12 May, West Australian Opera will return to Government House Ballroom with an exclusive long-table-style dinner and performance of Henry Purcell’s Baroque masterpiece Dido and Aeneas. Conducted by van Tuinen and directed by Humphrey Bower (The Duel), it stars Ashlyn Tymms and Lachlann Lawton in the title roles.

WAO’s Rusalka. Image supplied

A new and lavish production of Antonín Dvořák’s Rusalka is will be presented from 18–27 July at His Majesty’s Theatre in what will be the landmark venue’s 120th year. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale The Little Mermaid, Rusalka is the most intoxicating fairytale opera, best loved for the beauty of the exquisite aria Song to the Moon.

Elena Perroni and Paul O’Neill lead a cast including Naomi Johns as the Foreign Princess in a new Opera Conference work directed by Sarah Giles; set design by Charles Davis, costume design by Renee Mulder.

Thrilling acrobatics and striking video design combine to take audiences to hell and back in Circa’s award-winning production of Orpheus and Eurydice, which has its WA premiere at His Majesty’s Theatre from 24 October to 2 November. The production stars Russell Harcourt as Orpheus and Prudence Sanders as Eurydice, with van Tuinen conducting the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

Also in 2024, West Australian Opera will collaborates with Perth-based classical music ensemble Australian Baroque in a recital series at WA Museum Boola Bardip’s Hackett Hall.

“Our dream is to speak to the heart through the human voice,” said WA Opera Executive Director Carolyn Chard. “We are uniquely and proudly Western Australian and we bring audiences and artists together to celebrate sung stories that are relevant to our people, time, and places. We are proud to be resident in His Majesty’s Theatre and we acknowledge this beautiful theatre’s milestone birthday turning 120 in 2024.”

WA Opera subscriptions are now available. Single tickets are on sale at 9am, Wednesday 22 December. 

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