Messages from our foundation singers - Jonathan Abernethy
Posted on 22 December 2016
2016 has been a strange and exciting year for me; I performed my first Messiah with Sydney Philharmonia Choirs at the Sydney Opera House before starting back with Opera Australia. I was excited to be covering leading roles in two new productions, the first of which was The Pearlfishers and secondly Cosi fan tutte. These productions called for hard study of the roles as both are dramatically and vocally demanding. I was fortunate that in both cases I was able to create the roles from scratch on the floor with both directors (Michael Gow and Sir David McVicar) and conductor (Guillaume Tourniaire) due to the late arrival of the artists scheduled to perform the season, a challenging and rare opportunity that certainly helped me prepare these roles for years to come.
What started out as a normal year turned into three debut performances in every opera I was involved in… and at fairly late notice. The first time being called in straight from dinner, after the show had started! More recently I was called in from my travels in Berlin to Perth for the West Australian Opera season of the Pearlfishers. I landed on the morning of the final dress rehearsal, two days before opening night and then completed the six show season.
It’s been an exhilarating year working with so many new people and companies and performing new music. It’s been a privilege to work with Opera Australia, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and West Australian Opera. Next year I’m looking forward to new roles in NZ with NZ Opera and the NZSO as well as heading back to Festival d’Aix-en-Provence for the 2017 summer season.