Pinchgut Opera logo
|Genres||17th and 18th century opera|
|Years active||Since December 2002|
Pinchgut Opera is a chamber opera company in Sydney, Australia, presenting opera from the 17th and 18th centuries performed on period instruments. Founded in 2002, the company's goal is to present operas not widely known and worthy of a wider audience. Pinchgut stages one opera each year in Sydney's City Recital Hall, a venue chosen with the aim of a more intimate and involving audience experience.
The company utilises the professional chamber choir Cantillation as its chorus and has engaged both the Sirius Ensemble and the Orchestra of the Antipodes . Pinchgut draws most of its singers, players, directors and designers from Australia, aiming in particular to develop and foster local talent. Pinchgut's joint artistic directors are Erin Helyard and Antony Walker, who conducted the early Pinchgut productions. All productions are recorded by ABC Classics and are released on CD.
Pinchgut Opera draws its unusual name from Fort Denison, a former penal site in the Sydney Harbour which was nicknamed "Pinchgut" by its inmates. According to its website, the company chose the name "as we wanted something recognizably Sydney, easy to remember and as a reminder of our tight budgets and humble beginnings".
- 2002: Semele by George Frideric Handel (1743)
- 2003:The Fairy-Queen by Henry Purcell (1692)
- 2004: L'Orfeo by Claudio Monteverdi (1607)
- 2005: Dardanus by Jean-Philippe Rameau (1739) – Australian première
- 2006: Idomeneo by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1781)
- 2007: Juditha triumphans by Antonio Vivaldi (1716)
- This was a staged production of Vivaldi's oratorio Juditha triumphans (RV644). It was directed by Mark Gaal and designed by Hamish Peters. Mezzo-soprano Sally-Anne Russell sang the title role, alongside Sara Macliver (Abra), David Walker (Holofernes), Fiona Campbell (Vagaus) and Renae Martin (Ozias). The Orchestra of the Antipodes was conducted from the harpsichord by Attilio Cremonesi; Cantillation was the chorus.
- Soloists included Swedish tenor Anders J. Dahlin, soprano Sara Macliver, basses Dean Robinson, Richard Anderson and David Parkin, baritone Simon Lobelson and tenor Paul McMahon. Antony Walker conducted the Orchestra of the Antipodes (playing authentic instruments of the period) with Cantillation as the chorus. This was a fully staged and costumed production directed by American director Chas Rader-Shieber and designed by Australian designers Brad Clark and Alex Sommer. Performances took place in early December at City Recital Hall Angel Place.
- The cast included American countertenor David Walker, who appeared as Holofernes in the company's 2007 Juditha triumphans. In the title role was Australian mezzo-soprano Fiona Campbell as Erisbe, while Opera Australia Principal Artists Taryn Fiebig and Kanen Breen, both made their Pinchgut débuts, as Sicle and Erice respectively. Erin Helyard conducted, and the director was Talya Masel. L'Ormindo opened at Sydney's City Recital Hall on 2 December 2009.
- 2010: L'anima del filosofo by Joseph Haydn (1791)
- 2011: Griselda by Antonio Vivaldi (1735)
- 2012: On 30 September, Pinchgut Opera performed works by Blavet, Rameau, Leclair, Lully, Mondonville and Handel in the Old Courts of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The musicians in this concert were Celeste Lazarenko (soprano), Melissa Farrow (transverse flute), Anna McMichael (violin), Anthea Cottee (viola da gamba), and Erin Helyard (harpsichordist and director). The staged production of Castor et Pollux (1754) by Jean-Philippe Rameau followed later that year.
- 2013: Giasone by Francesco Cavalli (1644)
- 2014: Der Rauchfangkehrer (1781) by Antonio Salieri was presented in English as The Chimney Sweep. This was the first performance of this work in Australia and Pinchgut's first mid-year production, and Christoph Willibald Gluck's Iphigénie en Tauride (1779) following in December 2014, the 300th anniversary of Gluck's birth, with Caitlin Hulcup in the title role.
- Appointed as Artistic Director of the Washington Concert Opera in Washington, D.C. in 2002 and Music Director of the Pittsburgh Opera in 2006
- David Walker's website
- "Music of France". Art Gallery of NSW. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- The Chimney Sweep, production details and background, Pinchgut Opera
- Iphigénie en Tauride, production details and background, Pinchgut Opera
- Cunningham, Harriet, "A Pair of Early-Music Entrepreneurs Launch a Chamber Opera Company in Sydney", on andante.com, 4 December 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2009
- Pinchgut Opera's official website. Retrieved on 6 December 2009.
- Pinchgut Opera blog
- Orchestra of the Antipodes, bach-cantatas.com
- Antony Walker, official website