The Legacy of a Maestro

You don’t need to be an expert to know that opera is alive and well in Melbourne and beyond. You just need to attend a performance of Victorian Opera or one of the smaller companies, or even a student production, to know that audiences have much to be thankful for. However, the sudden death of a great champion of the art, in Richard Divall, has drawn our attention to this particular field of performance, following on from another successful Ring Cycle by Opera Australia in Melbourne.

Classic Melbourne both wants to acknowledge the great contribution of maestro Divall to opera in Victoria, including his interest in the smaller companies, and also to look at our largest company, Victorian Opera, and the legacy he left to it. Most of our feature draws on recent reviews of other opera events where Divall was interested in or even involved in the production. However, we are also very grateful to the current director of Victorian opera, Richard Mills, for filling in some of the history of this great musician and indicating the debt of gratitude we owe him.

Although nothing can adequately convey Divall’s importance to the operatic world, nor the sense of bereavement suffered by many who knew and worked with him, we have presented some tributes that suggest this.

Looking ahead to the future, we particularly take the opportunity to celebrate today’s State company, Victorian Opera, for its continuing achievements in everything from Bel Canto to edgy modern productions of contemporary works under the leadership of Richard Mills.  Opera is looking very healthy in the state of Victoria!

Richard Divall

Review: Anna Bolena

Review: Anna Bolena

For the second of their “Tudor Trilogy” of Donizetti operas Melbourne Opera has chalked up a major success with Anna Bolena. Such are the demands placed on the principal singers, it is small wonder it has taken so long to be performed by a professional Australian company. In particular, much rests on the quality of…Read More

Melbourne’s Maria Stuarda

Melbourne’s Maria Stuarda

Our post reveals how Richard Gill was connected with the company Melbourne Opera. But just yesterday they sent us their FaceBook post which says it all: “We are all so sad here that Maestro Richard Divall AO OBE, so important and central to classical music in Australia, 25 years as Music Director of VSO, 5…Read More

The Big One: the Herald Sun Aria

The Big One: the Herald Sun Aria

It’s that time of the year: the footy’s just over and the racing season is in full swing. We do love a contest. For some of us The Big One, Australia’s richest sing-off, easily eclipses trophies and cups, no matter how splendid. In the more congenial setting of another artistic event, the Melbourne Festival, the…Read More

Victorian Opera

Richard Mills’ Tribute

Richard Mills’ Tribute

Richard Sydney Divall (1945 – 2017) Richard Divall’s great contribution to opera was in Melbourne, and Victoria generally. Fellow conductor, Richard Mills, the Artistic Director of Victorian Opera, sums up the legacy of a much-loved musician with a passion for opera … “Richard Divall is a seminal figure in the history of opera in Australia.…Read More

Banquet of Secrets

Banquet of Secrets

In Banquet of Secrets Victorian Opera moves from the otherworldly Baroque opera voyage of their first offering for 2016 to a contemporary musical theatre journey into the emotional lives of four close friends. Two very different works in terms of musical style and narrative content, they share several important features, the most notable being the…Read More

Victorian Opera: Seven Deadly Sins

Victorian Opera: Seven Deadly Sins

Victorian Opera has chalked up another triumph with its spotlight on mankind’s failings. Our seven deadly sins were presented in two manifestations: the famous gritty Berliner Kabarett version by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, alongside Seven Deadly Sins by four emerging Australian composers. This sole performance of the new work was the product of extensive…Read More

The Grumpiest Boy in the World

The Grumpiest Boy in the World

  There was a serious buzz in the theatre as I was seated – people were using phrases like “so exciting to see this kind of innovation in our opera company!” “Have you heard Joseph Twist’s music yet? You are in for a treat!” I also noticed how very many children of all ages were…Read More

Jessica: Lucia, Violetta

Jessica: Lucia, Violetta

Victorian Opera must be congratulating itself on signing up Jessica Pratt to play the lead role of Violetta in La Traviata especially considering her recent triumphant debut as Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor at La Scala, Milan. Friend and fellow-diva Deborah Humble, a regular writer for our site, was there. “She did it! Wow  … so many…Read More