Elijah opera set to delight audiences

More than 150 student musicians and singers from The University of Western Australia’s Conservatorium of Music will perform with talented artists from West Australian Opera in the opera Elijah.

Performed in UWA’s iconic Winthrop Hall from Friday 14 to Sunday 16 May, the Mendelssohn opera tells the story of Prophet Elijah’s magnificent faith, doubt and miracles. Elijah is considered to be one of the most important prophets in the Old Testament, who faithfully carried out missions in the face of hardship and danger.

Baritone James Clayton will play Elijah, with fellow principals Paul O’Neill (tenor), Lisa Harper-Brown (soprano) and Chelsea Kluga (mezzo), under the baton of West Australian Opera Artistic Director Christopher van Tuinen.

The performance will take place on a centre stage, with the audience seated around the stage. Artists will sing and perform from the stage, central floor, through the aisles and up in the hall’s galleries, making for an engaging, multi-sensory experience.

As part of the performance, UWA students have the opportunity to work directly with West Australian Opera, where they are able to learn from some of the most skilled and talented artists in the State.

“The world of professional music demands excellence – audiences expect the best, and West Australian Opera is helping our students deliver just that.”

Head of the UWA Conservatorium of Music Professor Alan Lourens

Twenty-one-year-old student Isabella Cisse will play a key vocal role in the opera, singing in UWA’s Symphonic Chorale as well as the Chamber Chorus, alongside members of West Australian Opera’s own Opera Chorus.

Ranging in size from an 80-voice chorale to an eight-voice chorus, Isabella is excited about the opportunity to perform in such an exciting production.

“It’s a huge honour to be involved in a performance of Elijah’s scale, and learn from many talented artists at the apex of their career,” Isabella said.

“Working with West Australian Opera has been an incredible journey and the experience I have gained is vast. Watching these professionals put together such an incredible production has been inspiring – everyone counts in the performance, no matter how big or small our role.”

Head of the UWA Conservatorium of Music Professor Alan Lourens said UWA was delighted to be working side-by-side with one of Australia’s leading arts organisations.

“This kind of real-world experience is at the centre of UWA’s approach to education,” Professor Lourens said.

“The world of professional music demands excellence – audiences expect the best, and West Australian Opera is helping our students deliver just that.”

Executive Director of West Australian Opera Carolyn Chard said the state opera company was honoured to work with the Conservatorium of Music at UWA and particularly grateful that rehearsals could proceed under COVID19 restrictions.

“We are thrilled to be part of a production that celebrates the next generation of talent,” she said.

“The singers, musicians, creatives and crew have all adapted to working under new restraints and the conductor, Christopher van Tuinen, who is also the state opera’s Artistic Director, has done a ‘pivot’ and arranged some outdoor rehearsals at UWA’s New Fortune Theatre.”

Tickets for Elijah are available from the West Australian Opera website.

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