Last year featured two Ring Cycles and major farewell seasons from Lyndon Terracini (Opera Australia) and Richard Mills (Victorian Opera). It is difficult to imagine a follow-up season larger in scope, but 2024 will come close. New leadership in three major companies (Opera Australia, Victorian Opera and the State Opera of South Australia) heralds new energy.
As always, companies will try to balance new and old, classic and contemporary. Several new commissions include two new First Nations works (from Opera Queensland and Western Australian Opera), while Victorian Opera’s return season of Parrwang Lifts the Sky for its family and education season is the only First Nations work presented for Sydney and Melbourne this year.
There are several coincidental echoes across the country. Astonishingly, Dido and Aeneas has three separate outings this year, from Opera Queensland, Pinchgut Opera and Western Australian Opera. Leonard Bernstein’s Candide has two productions, for Victorian Opera and the State Opera of South Australia, perhaps in a bid to capitalise on Bradley Cooper’s new Netflix film Maestro, which will surely attract Oscar nominations.