University of Adelaide music graduates will this month play a major role in the Australian premiere of an opera production of Little Women.
A huge hit on Broadway and across the United States, this opera about the power of family, friendship and romance is composed by Mark Adamo based on Louisa May Alcott's famous coming-of-age, Civil War-era novel.
Little Women is the poignant chronicle of the four March sisters - Jo, Beth, Meg and Amy - in 19th century New England. Adapted many times for the stage and screen, it is a tale of the power of family, friendship and romance.
Opening at the Dunstan Playhouse on 19 May, the Australian premiere of Little Women is the result of an "exciting and historic collaboration" between State Opera and the State Theatre Company, said State Theatre Company Artistic Director Adam Cook.
Conducted by Timothy Sexton and directed by Cook, the production sees a number of Elder Conservatorium graduates come to the fore.
Mezzo-soprano Sally-Anne Russell stars in the key role of Jo; sopranos Eleanor Blythman and Jessica Dean are Amy and Beth respectively; baritone Andrew Turner is Mr Dashwood; and David Thelander plays John Brooke. Fellow Conservatorium graduate Anthony Hunt is the repetiteur for the rehearsal period.
Sally-Anne Russell has had a distinguished career, performing with many companies including the Oper der Stadt Köln, the Spoleto Festival in Italy, Victoria State Opera, State Opera of South Australia, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide International Festivals, and Canterbury Opera in New Zealand. She has presented concerts and recitals in the Netherlands, Austria, England, Canada, Japan and New Zealand.
Eleanor Blythman recently completed a Bachelor of Music in classical voice performance with Honours at the University of Adelaide. In 2005 she made her professional debut in The Mikado for Opera Australia and the Adelaide Festival Centre. Later this year Eleanor will take up further study at the Royal College of Music, London.
Jessica Dean, who this year will be taking up a scholarship in London on the Royal Academy of Music's prestigious Opera Course, has performed extensively in Adelaide. A First-Class Honours graduate of the Elder Conservatorium of Music, she played opposite David Hobson in Opera Australia's production of The Mikado for the Adelaide Festival Centre.
Adelaide baritone Andrew Turner studied singing at the Elder Conservatorium and the Luxembourg Conservatoire. He has performed operatic roles in Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, Romania, Finland and Singapore. He has toured Australia with Co-Opera and regularly sings with the State Opera of SA.
David Thelander is a graduate of both the Elder Conservatorium of Music and the Australian Opera Studio. David has appeared in concert with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the Southern Sinfonia, Dunedin and the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Tokyo. He made his debut for the Australian Opera Studio singing the role of Ariodat in Handel's Xerxes.
Conductor and repetiteur Anthony Hunt is a first-class honours graduate of the Elder Conservatorium in both Piano and Organ performance. In 2005 and 2006 he participated in the Symphony Australia Conductor Development Program and is a regular guest player with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.