Scene from the performance King Roger, directed by: Kasper Holten, 2015, photo: Bill Cooper / The Royal Opera
On 20th January 2017, the Australian premiere of King Roger, directed by Kaspar Holten, will take place. The performance will be presented in Sydney and Melbourne, and is supported by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute and its Polska Music programme.
In 2015, King Roger had its premiere at London’s Covent Garden – Royal Opera House. The renowned opera by Karol Szymanowski was also previously staged in Germany, France, and Spain. Soon, the production will visit the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne.
Kaspar Holten – director of the Royal Opera House – is responsible for the direction, and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra will be conducted by Andrea Molina, a conductor specialising in contemporary music. The leading role (performed by Mariusz Kwiecień in London) will be sang by Michael Honeyman, a leading Australian singer, Lorina Gore will play Roxanne, and the role of the Shepherd will be performed by Saimir Pirgu. Holten said of King Roger:
It’s a universal tale about everyone – everybody who has repressed desires. About how there’s a struggle between mind, heart and body; between being a man and an animal, the struggle between culture and nature. About how we mute some things and lose ourselves, but also about how forgiveness and life without desires makes us lose our identity. It was most important to me: to look at King Roger as universal.
After the opening performance of Szymanowski’s opera at the Royal Opera House, King Roger was released on DVD. This production was placed in many best of lists of 2016 (Second Programme of the Polish Radio, The Telegraph). In the February edition of Opera Magazine, the biggest magazine dedicated to opera, the recording of King Roger was named the recording of the month. In December 2016, it was nominated for a Grammy for Best Opera Recording, alongside operas by Corigliano, Händel, Higdon, and Mozart.
The Australian premiere of King Roger will take place on 20th January 2017 at the Joan Sutherland Theatre in the famous Sydney Opera House. The opera will be performed in Sydney eight times until 15th February 2017.
In May 2017, the piece will be a part of the repertoire of the State Theatre (Arts Centre Melbourne). There will be four performances: the first on 19th May and the last one on 27th May.