One woman. Three emotional tales.
“Drama, coffee and a good laugh. What would life be without them?” says Paul Dyer, Artistic Director of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.
“I'm bringing them all together for Bittersweet Obsessions, a special event and highlight in our 2017 program," adds Paul.
"Bittersweet Obsessions is a project that has been in my mind for several years. I'm especially thrilled to bring it to life in 2017, the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi's birth in 1567."
Bittersweet Obsessions will be be constructed around three works by two of the most iconic of baroque composers and includes Bach’s famous comic coffee cantata.
The music by Monteverdi and JS Bach is bold and brave, and the tales they tell are as relevant today as they were four centuries ago. Life's great mysteries will be compressed into a couple of hours of entertainment and put under the microscope in a dramatically staged Brandenburg concert.
This show will explore the sweetness and bitterness of life, obsessions taken to the brink, a life of love, joy and pleasure that also brings pain.
Paul has signed up the young Australian creative team with whom he collaborated on the Brandenburg’s acclaimed and first-ever staging of Handel’s Messiah in February 2017, NIDA graduates director Constantine Costi, set designer Charlotte Mungomery and costume designer Genevieve Graham.
The creative team will be completed by the leading Australian lighting designer, John Rayment (who in 2018 will be lighting the Commonwealth Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies on the Gold Coast, as well as Opera Australia's new production of Aida).
Bittersweet Obsessions creative team: Paul Dyer, Charlotte Mungomery, Constantine Costi, Genevieve Graham (not pictured, John Rayment, Lighting Designer)
"We are bringing together music, theatre and design, creating a unique concert experience,” says director Constantine Costi, who will travel to Beijing after the series to work as revival director for a remounting of Sir David McVicar's Falstaff production for the Vienna State Opera.
“Bittersweet Obsessions is the emotional narrative of one woman presented as three short stories or scenes, a triptych. There’s a lament, a tragedy and a comedy, stories of unrequited love, violent passion and teenage rebellion.
“In 2017, these are stories and life challenges that still resonate strongly for us. Every human experiences these emotions and we are pushing these states beyond the everyday into something breathtaking and profound.”
Ascending New Zealand soprano Natasha Wilson stars, returning after wowing audiences and critics in her Australian debut earlier in the year in Spanish Baroque with the Brandenburg and Circa Contemporary Circus.
“I’ve assembled a cast of thrilling young singers, all exceptional vocalists and actors,” says Paul. “Singing with Natasha in my Bittersweet Obsessions dream team are tenors Karim Sulayman from the USA and Australian Spencer Darby, as well as Danish bass Jakob Bloch Jespersen.
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PAUL DYER Artistic Director
AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA
NATASHA WILSON soprano (New Zealand)
KARIM SULAYMAN tenor (USA)
SPENCER DARBY tenor (Australia)
JAKOB BLOCH JESPERSEN bass (Denmark)
CONSTANTINE COSTI Director
CHARLOTTE MUNGOMERY Set Designer
GENEVIEVE GRAHAM Costume Designer
JOHN RAYMENT Lighting Designer
A beautiful, moving story of loss and mourning, the nymph, angrily and with broken heart, sings the story of her traitorous lover.
KAPSBERGER Toccata arpeggiata
MONTEVERDI Lamento della ninfa, SV163 *
A story of love, tragedy and mistaken identity.
MONTERVERDI Overture to Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in patria
MONTEVERDI Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda *
TRABACI Consonaze Stravaganti
A rollicking satire about the coffee-drinking antics of a lusciously jolly, caffeine-crazed woman.
JS BACH Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 BWV 1049 (1st movement)
JS BACH Coffee Cantata BWV 211 *
major vocal works marked by *
Natasha Wilson soprano (New Zealand)
"Her dusky-coloured timbre and supple phrasing
breathed life into a series of soulful laments."
Karim Sulayman tenor (USA)
a "true revelation"
OPÉRA MAGAZINE, France
Spencer Darby tenor (Australia)
Ben Folds' The Luckiest with soloist Spencer Darby was "an unexpected highlight"
review of Noël! Noël! 2016
Jakob Bloch Jespersen bass (Denmark)
"A voice like a prince"