Barrie Kosky's The Golden Cockerel for 2022 Adelaide Festival
Adelaide Festival announces the return of Australia’s celebrated international opera director Barrie Kosky, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel. The opera will form the centrepiece of the 2022 Adelaide Festival.
Kosky has previously directed two sell-out Adelaide Festival opera events: Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s production of Saul in 2017 and Komische Oper Berlin production of The Magic Flute in 2019. Kosky’s dreamscape production of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel has already been performed in France, where it played sell-out shows at the 2021 Festival International d'Art Lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence.
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov conceived The Golden Cockerel over the terrifying din of the 1905 revolution. Described as the summation of his craft, the opera is half surreal fairy-tale, half political satire, but fell foul of Tsarist censors and Rimsky-Korsakov died with the voluptuous score of his imagination unheard. Premiering in 1909, it has become a key work of the European operatic repertoire.
Joint Artistic Director Rachel Healy said: “Political satire, sardonic humour and surreal burlesque, The Golden Cockerel is an opera tailor-made for Barrie Kosky. It’s wonderful to again be co-producing with Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and it was thrilling to witness French audiences return to the theatre with such gusto and excitement when The Golden Cockerelopened at the magical Théâtre de l’Archevêché in July. We can’t wait to bring the same experience to Adelaide Festival audiences in March 2022.”
Joint Artistic Director Neil Armfield said: “We have been hounded by festival audiences to ‘bring back Barrie!’ His operas have such immediate appeal to young audiences and opera first-timers, while also attracting seasoned opera lovers, so we’re thrilled to announce The Golden Cockerel as the third part of the Kosky trifecta. If you’re transported by Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, or Flight of the Bumble Bee, you’ll fall in love with this richly melodic, kaleidoscopic work. And we’re doubly proud that this will be the first time the opera has been staged in Australia since it was written in 1908 – your first experience of this glorious work will be in the most beautiful and original production imaginable.”
In its impossibly demanding roles for bass, lyric coloratura soprano and stratospheric tenor, audiences will hear the three operatic Olympians who have defined them in recent years: British-Ukrainian Pavlo Hunka, and Russian stars Venera Gimadieva and Andrei Popov. Their voices will soar over the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, which is re-united with its former Music Director, Arvo Volmer.
Director Barrie Kosky said: “I am thrilled to be coming back to Adelaide Festival with an opera production that means so much to me, and very grateful to be a part of another incredible festival curated by Neil and Rachel. Adelaide Festival holds a special place in my heart; it is my favourite arts festival in all the world and I have my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to attend.”
The Golden Cockerel, which recently premiered in May at Opéra National de Lyon, is a co-production with Festival International d’Art Lyrique d’Aix-en-Provence, Adelaide Festival, Opéra National de Lyon and Komische Oper Berlin in association with Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
“Dark wit spiced with surreal burlesque. Classic Kosky… A triumphant evening”
“You wish it would never end… The Golden Cockerel is certainly the Rimsky-Korsakov masterpiece.”
The Golden Cockerel will play at the Adelaide Festival Theatre from 4 – 9 March 2022. The full Adelaide Festival 2022 program will be launched on 26 October.
Composer Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov
Libretto Vladimir I. Bielski
based on the tale in verse by Alexander Pushkin
Conductor Arvo Volmer
Director Barrie Kosky
Associate Director Denni Sayers
Stage Designer Rufus Didwiszus
Costume Designer Victoria Behr
Lighting Designer Franck Evin
Choreographer Otto Pichler
Venera Gimadieva, soprano
Vasily Efimov, tenor
Andrei Popov, tenor
Samuel Dundas, baritone
Pavlo Hunka, bass-baritone
Mischa Shelomianski, bass
Sarah MacIvor, soprano
Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and Adelaide Festival Chorus