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Pinchgut Opera

Posted by Team APATA | Oct 7, 2021

Pinchgut Opera, Australia’s only company dedicated to Baroque opera and vocal music, with a global reputation as one of the world’s finest companies specialising in historically informed performance. Pinchgut takes rare and often undiscovered masterpieces from the 17th and 18th centuries and re-creates them in the modern frame, giving contemporary relevance to this exquisite music of the past for today’s audiences to enjoy.

The 2022 Pinchgut Opera Season 

The Spiritual Forest | Claudio Monteverdi

The Spiritual Forest is drawn from Monteverdi’s Selva morale e spirituale (1641), his great anthology of liturgical works composed during his career in Venice. It was to be the last collection of Monteverdi’s music published in his lifetime, and represents the final flowering of his great genius.

Orontea | Antonio Cesti

Musical heir to Monteverdi and a younger contemporary of Cavalli, Cesti was one of the most popular composers of the 17th century. When it premiered in 1656, Orontea immediately captured the public’s attention through its brilliant and skilful combination of poetry and music.

Studded with memorable arias and remarkable duets, Cesti’s gifts for musical characterisation and melodic story telling are here on display for the first time in Australia.

Women of the Pietà | Antonio Vivaldi

An unmissable concert experience featuring a crack ensemble of singers and players to re-create the splendour and sound of the music performed by the women and girls at Vivaldi’s Ospedale della Pietà, the renowned home for orphaned girls in Venice where Vivaldi was master of the violin.

Médée | Marc-Antoine Charpentier

Médée is high drama and emotion: French tragédie lyrique in its most classic form. The sorceress Médée is driven by desperation and the abandonment of her lover Jason to do the unthinkable, and ultimately murder her own children.

Pinchgut Opera: Education

Artistic Director and co-founder of Pinchgut Opera and the Orchestra of the Antipodes, Erin Helyard, graduated with first-class honours for harpsichord performance from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, taking home the University Medal. This celebrated beginning led to a Masters in fortepiano performance and a PhD in Musicology.

The company won Best Rediscovered Opera (2019) for Hasse’s Artaserse at the International Opera Awards in London. Operas under his direction have been awarded Best Opera at the Helpmann Awards for three consecutive years (2015-2017). He has received two Helpmann Awards for Best Musical Direction: one for a fêted revival of Saul (Adelaide Festival) in 2017 and the other for Hasse’s Artaserse (Pinchgut Opera) in 2019.

It seems rightfully so that Pinchgut’s Continuo Mentorship Program should champion the training of Australian-based continuo and harpsichord players.

Continuo Mentorship Program

‘Keyboard instruments were ubiquitous in all repertoires of the 17th- and 18th-century and learning how to play continuo, or the art of improvised accompaniment in this repertoire, is an essential part of performance practice. Pinchgut’s Continuo Mentorship Program seeks to support a new generation of keyboardists in this highly specialised skill through mentorship, tuition, and practical experience.’

– Erin Helyard

The two-year program develops music skill and experience through opportunities to engage with Helyard, the Orchestra of the Antipodes players, singers and other historically informed specialists.

Applications are now open for the next mentorship participant in 2023.

Taryn Fiebig Scholarship

The Taryn Fiebig Scholar was founded in honour of Taryn’s extraordinary abilities, her legacy, and the significant effect that she had on Pinchgut Opera. The scholar program will encourage development opportunities for emerging Australian opera singers of special potential to enable them to develop the dramatic, expressive, and musical qualities that made Taryn a leading exponent of 17th and 18th century opera.

Baroque music is informed by “a belief in music as a potent tool of communication”. A time of enormous artistic growth, technological advancement and cultural exchange, Baroque’s historically-informed learning could do much for the world today.

Creating art, creative thinking, arts-based learning, acknowledging the lived experiences of the global majority to inform “the ways we move through the world”, as Baroque player Zoe Barry says.

The wonderful, fantastic, amazing thing about learning the arts is how it threads its way into your very core. Without realising it you develop compassion, empathy, understanding and curiosity. You see how one thing relates to another. You can express, release and embrace. You learn and live, ready to give but also ready to receive.

We hope this may encourage you to check out Pinchgut Opera’s 2022 Season, or encourage a student or performer to apply for the Taryn Fiebig Scholar and Continuo Mentorship Program. Perhaps even delve into Baroque’s rich history for a class project or planning for next year.

Explore, have fun and change lives!

Here is a brief Baroque music history lesson for students.

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