Richard Gill is the Music Director of Victorian Opera. In the company’s inaugural season in 2006, they presented Cosi fan tutte. In 2007, they were back at HMT with The Love of the Nightingale, conducted by Richard and also, Orphée et Eurydice. This interview was conducted prior to the company’s 2007 season.
HMT: Richard, you have chosen an exciting program this year that steers away from the typical. What drew you and Victorian Opera to Nightingale and Orphée?
Richard Gill: The opportunity to present a world premiere by a well-known local composer, Richard Mills, in combination with a great classic such as Orpheus was irresistible. To present them both at The Maj provides a wonderful set of challenges and continues to let the community know that The Maj. has a history of presenting opera and is one of the great Australian theatres for this art form. Both of these operas deal with classical legends and both of the operas deal with significant loss.
HMT: In its day, the Maj has played host to an astonishing array of operatic talent including Dames Nellie Melba and Joan Sutherland, as well as a young Pavarotti. The team here are very excited to be welcoming opera back to our stage in the form of these two productions. Tell us a little about the wonderful voices of VO that we are set to hear.
RG: You are going to hear some very impressive Victorian talent, especially female talent; that’s not to say that the men aren’t terrific but the operas, both of them, favour female voices. In Orpheus we have Allie Rae Jones returning from Europe to her home state to sing the role of Eurydice; Dimity Shepherd and Jacqui Porter, both Melbourne ladies will sing the roles of Orpheus and Amor, respectively. So The Maj continues to host a series of great young ladies who may take their places with the grand dames from the past.
HMT: Lastly, Orphée et Eurydice sees Artistic Director of Bangarra Dance, Stephen Page, step into the Director’s role. Can you tell us a little more about this collaboration, and what the audience can expect from the performance?
RG: Surprises and delights may be expected. This is Stephen’s first opera and he has taken the bull by the horns. He is making this project very much his own and brings an obvious wealth of dance experience together with a strong sense of story and legend. He has embraced the nature of this project wholeheartedly and has worked in a strong collaborative way with the designer, Peter England. It will be a treat for ears and eyes.
Read more about the work of Victorian Opera and a full biography of Richard Gill at www.victorianopera.com.au.May 2007