Opera Australia is disappointed to announce the forced postponement of their production of ThePhantom of the Opera that was scheduled to open at the Sydney Opera House in September and Arts Centre Melbourne in November.
The company has taken the incredibly difficult step to postpone both seasons due to the uncertainty created by the ongoing restrictions imposed by both the New South Wales and Victorian Governments because of the indefinite COVID-19 lockdowns.
Opera Australia acknowledges the health and safety of the community – including its performers, crew and audiences – is of the utmost importance and respects the health advice and orders in place to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Although a disappointing development for OA, Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini is confident new dates will be secured for 2022.
“This has been a really difficult decision for OA and our partners to make and has certainly not been made lightly when so many people will be affected.
“After making box office history at the Opera House, it was clear that Australians were very excited about this new production of the world’s most successful musical, and we’d brought together a fantastic cast of Australian performers, it’s heartbreaking to have to postpone.
“Rest assured we are working hard to secure dates for 2022 in both venues, that we’ll announce as soon as we can. We encourage all those who are able, to hold onto their tickets for next year,” said Terracini.
Of the postponement Cameron Mackintosh commented.
“The consequences of COVID-19 continue to disrupt people’s lives worldwide, with spikes, lockdowns and quarantine causing chaos in planning. Having got a wonderful Australian cast together for my new production of The Phantom of the Opera, due to open shortly with Opera Australia at the Sydney Opera House, followed by the Arts Centre Melbourne, it is a huge disappointment, especially for the company and mostly sold-out audiences, that we have been forced by government restrictions to postpone the upcoming seasons.
“We very much hope that we will be able to confirm in the not-too-distant future that the production will open next year, by which time the vaccination rollout should be long completed and disruptions to theatre going will be an unpleasant distant memory.”
The ongoing lockdown in Sydney has made it impossible for OA to continue its work in the wardrobe and scenery manufacturing workshops, which has compromised the delivery of costumes and sets, to the high standards expected of this production, to be ready in time for the scheduled opening in September.
It also means that rehearsals, scheduled to start this Monday 26 July, cannot go ahead, and with no possibility of delaying the opening, a full postponement was the only viable option for the Company.
Both State Governments have indicated that any return to indoor performances when the full lockdowns lift are likely to involve reverting to previous COVID-safe practices including reduced audience capacities, which for a show as large as Phantom would be financially unviable.
Opera Australia is encouraging ticket holders to keep their tickets for 2022. All affected ticket holders will be contacted when new dates are announced.
Opera Australia and the Really Useful Group announce
Spectacular New Production of
ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER’S
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA
FULL CAST ANNOUNCED
SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE FROM SEPTEMBER 3RD
ARTS CENTRE MELBOURNE FROM NOVEMBER 14TH
TICKETS ON SALE NOW PHANTOMOFTHEOPERA.COM.AU
As previously announced the lead role of Phantom will be played by Josh Piterman and now joining him in this new Australian production making her Australian theatre debut, Perth’s own Amy Manford will take on the role of the ingénue Christine Daaé and Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny will be played by acclaimed musical theatre star Blake Bowden.
Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber said, “‘We are thrilled with the wonderful new Australian cast we have found for THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. The exciting talents of Josh, Amy and Blake will lead a terrific company and orchestra”.
Cameron Mackintosh added, “I am certain this spectacular new staging overseen by Matthew Bourne and myself will capture audiences in Sydney this spring (where most performances are already sold out), and Melbourne later this year”.
Starring alongside the lead cast will be Australian musical theatre stalwart David Whitney playing shrewd theatre manager Monsieur Firmin, the newly appointed theatre manager Monsieur Andre will be played by experienced musical and opera performer Andy Morton, soprano Giuseppina Grech will play the role of opera diva Carlotta Guidicelli, seasoned musical theatre performer Jayde Westaby will take on the role of ballet mistress Madame Giry, the Italian opera singer Ubaldo Piangi will be played by classical crossover artist Paul Tabone, and newcomer Mietta White will play young ballerinaMeg Giry.
Joining them will be the talented ensemble cast including Annie Aitken, Anton Berezin, Laura Bianchi-Bishop, Eleanor Blythman, Gavin Brown, Benjamin Clark, Bridget Costello, Andrew Dunne, Lewis Francis, Christina Gibbs, Claudia Hastings, Olivia Jenkins, Daniel Koek, Naomi Livingston, Aaron Lynch, Kayleigh Marven, Emma McFarlane, Lachlan O’Brien, Brittany Page, Kiran Rajasingam, Edward Smith, Anna Stephens, Troy Sussman, Liam White, Paul Whiteley, Raphael Wong and Elisha Zion Lee.
Josh Piterman recently scored a huge personal triumph with an impressive West End debut as he took on the most coveted role of Phantom in the London production in 2019. He is an established musical theatre performer and classical crossover artist who has been working consistently on Australian and UK stages over the past 15 years. His past credits include being a part of international pop opera group The Ten Tenors, Tony in the 2010 Australian production of Westside Story, Bustopher Jones/Gus/Growltigerin the 2015/16 Australian season of Cats (a role that won him the Green Room Award for best supporting actor in a Musical), Corny Collins in the UK tour of Hairspray and Gerry Goffin in the 2017/18 Australian tour of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.
Born and raised in Perth, Amy Manford has hadan exciting start to her career after graduating from WAAPA and making her way to London. She did a Masters degree at The Royal College of Music whilst landing her first role on the West End cast as the Christine alternate in the original London production of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA in 2017. During her time in London, she also had the privilege of performing for Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace and for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Blake Bowden has starred on many Australian stages with his most acclaimed performance to date, leading the cast in the Australian production of The Book of Mormon in the lead role of Elder Price which also garnered him a Helpmann Award nomination for Best Male Actor in a Musical in 2019. Blake has also starred in productions including Fiddler on the Roof, South Pacific, Sweeney Todd, West Side Story and The Boy From Oz Arena Spectacular with Hugh Jackman.
This spectacular new staging by Cameron Mackintosh premiered with a record-breaking sell out tour of the UK followed by a 7-year tour of the United States which grossed over US$400 million and thrilled critics and audiences alike. Australia is now only the third country to see this new PHANTOM with its beloved and thrilling score including the hit songs The Music of the Night, All I Ask of You and Masquerade. With stunning new staging and scenic design, Maria Björnson’s iconic original costumes and many special effects including a spectacular new realisation of the show’s chandelier. It will be performed in Australia by a cast and orchestra of 65, making it one of the largest musical productions ever in Australia.
Opera Australia’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini commented, “It’s such an exciting production, with arguably the most well-known score and lyrics in musical theatre history. So we’re thrilled to have such a talented cast of homegrown singers to present this new production of PHANTOM to Australian audiences.
“The chemistry between Josh and Amy as the Phantom and Christine, is electric, and together with Blake as the aristocratic Raoul, they lead an extraordinary cast. They’re all wonderful performers whom I know fans are going to absolutely love, trust me, it will be worth the wait”, said Terracini.
The Sydney season of PHANTOM is supported by the NSW Government through Destination NSW.
NSW Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said tickets for the production of PHANTOM at Sydney Opera House had been in high demand, and with finalisation of the cast, anticipation for opening night was building.
“There is no more evocative venue than Sydney Opera House and we expect that fans of the Andrew Lloyd Webber original, and this new adaptation produced in partnership with Cameron Mackintosh will visit from near and far to experience the magic and power of the PHANTOM here in the Harbour City,” Mr Ayres said.
“This will be a history-making moment when the story and voice of the PHANTOM fills the hallowed Sydney Opera House for the first time ever.”
Directed by Laurence Connor with choreography by Scott Ambler, set design by Paul Brown, Tony Award®-winning original costume design by Maria Björnson, lighting design by Tony Award®-winner Paule Constable and sound design by Mick Potter, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA has music byAndrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart(with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe), book by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber, orchestrations by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber. This new production is overseen by Matthew Bourne and Cameron Mackintosh.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA in Australia is directed by Seth Sklar-Heyn and produced by Cameron Mackintosh, The Really Useful Group and Opera Australia.
Based on the classic novel Le Fantôme de L’Opéra by Gaston Leroux, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine, and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and by employing all of the devious methods at his command.
PHANTOM IS AN ENORMOUS HIT ALL OVER AGAIN!
“Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ravishing score, intense and spectacular, a stunning new design with fresh drama and added momentum.”
“Delight at the opera, this new Phantom soars to incredible heights.”
Manchester Evening News
“The Phantom is back. If you liked the show before, you’ll probably like this one even better.”
“Extraordinarily opulent. This Phantom’s storytelling and relationships have an electrifying tension.”
“Powerful, gorgeous…and better than ever.”
–The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Take a deep breath and prepare to be dazzled; this kind of gorgeous escapism is exactly what audiences need.”
–The Scotsman (U.K.)
“This PHANTOM is for a new generation.”
-Roy Leonard, Chicago Now
JOAN SUTHERLAND THEATRE, SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE FROM SEPTEMBER 3RD
STATE THEATRE, ARTS CENTRE MELBOURNE FROM NOVEMBER 14TH
For more information on the production please visit phantomoftheopera.com.au