South Australia Opera To Celebrate 25 Years

Company also to commemorate 100th anniversary of Verdi's death with Requiem.

The State Opera of South Australia will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2001, and the company announced on Thursday plans to mark the occasion with a season featuring seven new productions.

Headlining that season is a $3.1 million arena production of Puccini's Madame Butterfly.

Imported from London's Royal Albert Hall, the production features the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. The floor of the Adelaide Entertainment Centre, set in the round, will be transformed into a shimmering 15,600-gallon life-size Japanese water garden.

Opening the season in May is a first-ever co-production with the Australian Ballet. The two companies will present a double bill with new interpretations of Fauré's Requiem and Carl Orff's Carmina Burana. Stephen Baynes will choreograph the dancers, who will be joined by the Adelaide Philharmonia Choir and Symphony Orchestra.

An all-South Australian cast and creative team will bring a new staging of Britten's The Turn of the Screw in July, followed by Jeffrey Tate conducting a 5-1/2-hour production of Wagner's Parsifal, with Danish singer Poul Elming making his Australian debut in the title role.

Completing the main-stage season will be the state premiere of Giordano's Andrea Chénier. Set during the French Revolution, Andrea Chénier is based on the life of the real-life poet of the same name. Although he supported the Revolutionary ideals, he died at the guillotine for writing against its leaders' decisions. Elke Neidhardt, who also is directing the Parsifal production, will direct the opera.

Next year also marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Guiseppe Verdi, and the State Opera will commemorate the occasion with a production of the composer's Requiem, led by the young Italian conductor Marco Guidarini.

In addition, 2001's Come Out youth arts festival will include a production of My Place, a new opera for children, with music by Adelaide's Graham Koehne and Quentin Grant.