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Opera Spotlight

Two Weddings, One Bride – Cast & Creative Introductions

Opera Australia’s Two Weddings, One Bride is fast approaching and is bringing performances from the best in Australian opera to the Riverside stage. Find out more about the creatives and cast involved in this masterpiece.

Director Dean Bryant

Dean Bryant has established himself within the performing arts industry as an accomplished director, writer and lyricist who thrives on creating emotion and empathy among his audiences. In an interview with the Arts Review, Dean announces his love for creating shows that allow audiences to connect with the performers on issues that are relevant to the individual. Using his first creative piece Prodigal (coming out in a country town) as an example, he states “I’m interested in having people say, I get that person and how their life relates to mine”.

Dean’s love for performing arts wasn’t unveiled until he commenced his law degree, primarily influenced by his astonishing high school results. It was during this time that he realised that the copious case studies and research perhaps wasn’t for him. A trip to Perth to study performing arts was where he was to meet his showbiz and life partner Matthew Frank, the two going on to be one of Australia’s most dynamic creative duos. The pair have predominantly delved into the world of musicals and have composed an array of shows including; Once We Lived Here (Green Room award: Best New Musical, NYC and London seasons), Virgins: A Musical Threesome and The Silver Donkey as well as the songs for the Amy Winehouse musical episode of Channel 10’s Mr and Mrs Murder.

Currently, Dean is an associate director at Melbourne Theatre Company being heavily involved in the directing of Lady in the Van, Wild, An Ideal Husband, Vivid White, Born Yesterday, Skylight, I’ll Eat You Last and Next to Normal. One of his most recent triumphant productions was that of Sweet Charity, a debut production for Hayes Theatre Company, in which he deservingly received an award for the Best Director of a Musical at the Helpmann and Sydney Theatre awards.

Philippe played by John Bolton Wood

John Bolton Wood has undoubtedly established himself as a highly accredited actor particularly within the operatic community, playing roles in internationally recognised productions including MET Opera’s Tosca (2013) and La Boheme (2013). Born in Sydney, John’s career in performing arts started with his education in music at the NSW Conservatorium of Music and the London Opera Centre. He made his UK debut at the Royal Opera House with a role as Bosun in Benjamin Britten’s Billy Budd.

John’s involvement in Australian production and Asian tour of Cats perhaps brought with it one of his greatest acclaims, predominantly for his efforts in singing for an astounding 1498 performances in the role of role as Old Deuteronomy.

Further career highlights include John’s successes in his performances within the Gilbert and Sullivan repertoire including Captain Corcoran in HMS Pinafore to Edward Woodward’s Sir Joseph Porter, Major-General Stanley in the Broadway production of The Pirates of Penzance, the role of Lord Mountararat in Lolanthe for the Victoria State Opera and Gilbert and Sullivan Unlimited with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Girofle / Girofla played by Zoe Drummond

At the ripe age of 25, Zoe Drummond has quickly emerged as one of Australia’s leading young sopranos, recently graduating from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with an Artist Masters in Performance with Distinction and a Concert Recital Diploma for exceptional performance. At such a young age, she has an extensive portfolio of education and awards including a Bachelor of Music Performance with First Class Honours at The Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the Demant Dreikurs Scholarship and the Reuben Scarf Award.

More recently, Zoe was the recipient of the prestigious IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition, joining the likes of international stars Stuart Skelton and Jessica Pratt. Her performances included Nel grave tormento Mitridate, Re di Ponto by Mozart and Sul fil d’un soffio etesio (with recit…Ninfe, elfi) Falstaff by Verdi. The prize (worth in value of approximately 200,00) comes with an opportunity to audition for Lyric Opera of Chicago’s professional-artist development program, a portrait painting of the winner, a taped interview conducted by historian Diana Ritch, a statuette created by Drago Marin Cherina and $30,000 to assist with a program of study and/or singing activity.

Some of Zoe’s Operatic highlights so far include the Nightingale in Respighi’s Sleeping Beauty (Victorian Opera), Giannetta in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (Western Sydney Opera); Monica in Menotti’s The Medium (Opera Prometheus); Papagena in Mozart’s The Magic Flute (Pacific Opera); Flora (cover) in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw (Victorian Opera); and Lucy in Menotti’s The Telephone (Penrith Symphony Orchestra).

General Modigliani played by Andrew Jones

Andrew Jones is an accomplished baritone vocalist, solidifying himself through lead roles in various Opera Australia performances as well as various roles in Opera in the Domain and Opera Australia’s New Years Eve Gala. Growing up as a child, Jones was surrounded by singers – his maternal grandfather was a singer and his father trained as one. Whilst it was never his intention to become a singer, Andrew now fulfils his love for acting with the beautiful gift that is his voice.

In terms of professional education, Andrew attended the Victorian College of Arts for three years, aswell as three years in the chorus of OA before joining the Young Artist Programme whereby he has labelled this period as “crucial in building stamina and an understanding of opera and stagecraft. Being a Young Artist has given me access to some wonderful coaches, visiting international artists, it has raised my profile in Australia and the opportunity for amazing practical experience”

Andrew has since featured in the title role in Le nozze di Figaro, Marcello in La Bohème (Helpmann Award nomination), Escamillo in Carmen, Papageno in The Magic Flute, Zurga in The Pearl Fishers, Ford in Falstaff and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte among many others. His portfolio of concert appearances are just as impressive, including appearances with the Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Darwin Symphony Orchestras, Sydney Philharmonia, Royal Melbourne Philharmonic and Orchestra Victoria.  He was baritone soloist for Victoria Opera’s Gala Opening Concert, Opera Australia’s New Year’s Eve GalaOpera in the Domain and Opera at the Bowl.

Marasquin played by Nicholas Jones

Since completing a Bachelor of Music Performance at the Victorian College of the Arts, brilliant young tenor Nicholas Jones has since launched an impressive career in opera and continues to go from strength to strength. Nick has claimed multiple awards for his achievements, more namely being the recipient of the OSA / Australian Music Events “Scholar of the Year” prize, the Green Room Award for his portrayal of David in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg for Opera Australia and a nomination for a Helpmann Award for the same role.

Nicholas has received highly valuable operatic training from the likes of Raymond Connell, Gary May and Anna Connolly since 2009 and has since returned to Opera Scholars Australia to return the favour and become a mentor and appear in concerts as a featured artist. Among Nicholas’ greatest career achievement would perhaps be his creation of the role of Fish Lamb in the world premiere of Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet – composed by George Palmer and presented by State Opera of South Australia in 2016

Outside of Opera Australia, some notable appearances include Male Chorus in Victorian Opera’s The Rape of Lucretia, Britten’s Canticles and Stefan Cassomenos’ Art of Thought for Melbourne Recital Centre, Soldier in The Emperor of Atlantis and Barnardo in Erwin und Elmire for IOpera, Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings at ANAM and Hadyn’s The Creation for Sydney Philharmonia; Nick was also an original cast member of Deborah Cheetham’s indigenous opera Pecan Summer

Pedro/Celebrant/Francois/Australian Colonel played by Michael Petruccelli

Critics and colleagues alike have recognised Michael Petruccelli as one of Australia’s emerging operatic tenors, labelling him as a versatile and confident performer, with a pure, glowing tenor. Micahel’s formal education includes the simultaneous completion of a Master of Music in Opera Performance at the University of Melbourne in 2014/15 and two year experience as a Developing Artist with Victorian Opera.

Career highlights include his debut with Opera Australia, performing the role of Stephen Goldring in the critically acclaimed production of Sydney Opera House, The Opera (The Eigth Wonder), Der Minister in Victorian Opera’s production of Die Prinzessin auf der Erbse at the Arts Centre Melbourne’s Playhouse Theatre, Goro in Stonnington City Council’s The Classics: Opera (Madama Butterfly) concert series and Arturo (Lucia di Lammermoor), Beppe (Pagliacci) and The Minister (The Princess and the Pea) for Victorian Opera.

Michael also has an extensive wealth of experience within the concert platform, having performed as a soloist in a number of Victorian Opera gala concerts as well as for the City of Stonnington’s The Classics: Opera summer outdoor concert series. He is also a talented collaborator, creating and performing in the recital series Night and Day with associate artist Elyane Laussade.

Two Weddings, One Bride is playing at Riverside on Wednesday 13 November at 2:30pm and 8pm. 

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