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j^FTER triumphal appearances in Brisbane, Adelaide, and
Perth, the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust*s all-Aus tralian opera company will present four of Mozart's greatest operas in Melbourne, the season beginning on Wednesday, at 8 p.m., in Her Majesty's Theatre.
First' presentation will be "The Marriage of Figaro/' Other operas in the company's present repertoire are "The Magic Flute," "Don Giovanni/' and "Cosi Fan Tutte."
The company has two distinguished over seas guest stars-Sena Jurinac (soprano)
and Sesto Bruscantini (baritone)-but they will not appear in the first presentation.
This will be entirely Australian. Quoting a
spokesman of the Trust: "We are giving Austra
lians a chance in their own theatre-and are giving
Australians the best opportunity to see what other Australians can, with complete artistry, offer.1'
"&RAVO! Maestro! BravoI" roared the singers
at a rehearsal at the Burgtheater, Vienna, one sunny afternoon in April, 7 786.
And the slightly built young man in the crimson coat and jaunty cocked hat bowed gaily.
For the whole cast and orchestra, too - had gone wild about his new opera - .the sparkling, quick - fire "Marriage of Figaro."
And Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the high-pressure genius who dazzled Europe and died a pauper, felt fine.
Vienna liked Figaro when the curtain went up-but Prague adored it.
"Here," wrote Mozart in Prague, "nothing is talked about except Figaro nothing played, piped, sung, or whistled-except Figaro always Figaro."
And on Wednesday the opera that took Europe by storm will open an Olympic season of Mozart opera in Melbourne.
The opera-with more catchy tunes than any hit parade-will be presented by the Elizabethan . Theatre Trust and the Victorian Symphony Orchestra, con ducted by Joseph Mozart yes, that's his REAL name
The other operas are "The Magic Flute," "Don Giovanni," and "Cosi fan Tutti" (sub-title: The School for Lovers).
In tackling these operas -Mozart's greatest - the Elizabethan Theatre Trust Is aiming high.
For they demand pre cision plus.
But, then, Australia IS aiming high in opera-and
By MICHAEL f
going places, says dynamic maestro Post, who has directed the company through successful seasons in Adelaide, Perth, and Brisbane, with 'Mr. Eric Clapham, associate conduc
"Australian voices sing for themselves the world over," he says.
"And the . wonderful thing about ? it is that pro mising new voices keep coming forward.
"Australian acting ability in opera is first rate, too."
They're a mixed crew the young men and women of the Elizabethan Trust's Australian Opera Company.
But they're a team - and that's what counts.
Says Mr. Robert Quen tin, general manager of the
"They're the finest group of Australian singers ever brought together - at least equal to the Sadler's Wells Company' in Britain."
But opera is costly.
Every time the curtain
goes up on a Mozart opera, says Mr. Quentin, It costs the company £ 850.
"The Australian tour will
cost about £135,000 - but we hope to break even."
A top husband-and-wife operatic team from Europe will head the cast as guest artists, j
. SENA JURINAC, prin cipal soprano of the Vienna Stat.e Opera and No. 1 Mozart soprano in the world today; and
. SESTO BRUSCANTINI, leading Italian baritone.
Three Australian princi pals came out from Eng land especially to taKe part in the season.
. Sydney bass - baritone STANLEY CLARKSON, who has been with Sadler's Wells for the last eight years;
. Adelaide tenor KEVIN MILLER, who has been with the Glyndebourne Opera Company, which specialises in Mozart; and . Coolamon (N.S.W.) bari tone JOHN CAMERON, who has been with Sadler's Wells, Covent Garden, and Glyndebourne.
Other principals include:
. Melbourne baritone JOHN SHAW (he wed Miss Australia Quest finalist Pat ricia Aylmore recently)-;
. Sydney soprano BETTY PRENTICE (she used to teach physical education at a high school);
. Melbourne bass-baritone KEITH NEILSON, a senior technical instructor with the P.M.G. Department;
. Sydney soprano VALDA BAGNALL, well known radio voice;
. Melbourne soprano - housewife JENIFER EDDY;
. Sydney lyric soprano MARJORIE CONLEY, who's won practically every major vocal competition in Australia;
. Beverly Hills (Sydney)
housewife NITA MAUGH AN, who designs her own hats and clothes;
. Melbourne mezzo - soprano WILMA WHIT NEY, who teaches music off-stage and likes cooking ("I sprinkle everything with garlic");
. Sydney mezzo-soprano BETTINA BENPIELD, who loves interior decorat ing (she's always re
Sainting her flat);
i Melbourne soprano
JOYCE SIMMONS, a for mer switchboard operator and typist, who makes hats and earrings "as a side line";
. JOSEPH POST, who will conduct with the Victorian Symphony Or
0 TOP RIGHT: Bettina Ben field (Cheru b i n o), John Shaw (The Count) and Valda Bagnall (Su sanna) in "The Marriage
9 Adelaide tenor MAX WORTHLEY, who teaches music off stage;
. Melbourne baritone NEIL WARREN-SMITH, a mas ter butcher, who sang for years "just as a hobby";
8 Sydney baritone GEOF FREY CHARD, who played tennis with Lew Hoad and Ken Rosewall.
That's Tasmanian tenor RAY MCDONALD, who's done everything, he says, from branding cattle to delivering milk with another opera singer in Sydney.
"We sang arias on the
round," he laughs. I