Image for Hobart Baroque’s week-long Festival ... as Orlando poised to captivate and thrill ...

Medoro - Daniel Bubeck (countertenor), Dorinda - Anna Davidson (soprano), Amor - Tom Hawkey (the 11 year old Hobart boy who has the largest non-singing role).

Artistic Director Leo Schofield is Australia’s most experienced festival director.

With four Melbourne Festivals, four Sydney Festivals and the Olympic and Paralympics Arts Festivals behind him, he now pours his heart and soul into a new festival that brings the exquisite music of the 17th and 18th centuries to the city of Hobart.

“As with each festival I’ve worked on, there is a tremendous sense of excitement right now as the artists gather ahead of the opening night,” says Leo. “In the past weeks I’ve watched the rehearsals of Orlando and I feel confident that it will captivate and thrill audiences.’

Director Chas Rader-Shieber’s production of Orlando was first seen at the Glimmerglass Festival in upstate New York and later to great acclaim at the famed Lincoln Centre in New York City.

“The production is visually stunning and will look absolutely magnificent in the Theatre Royal,” says Leo. “It is also the ideal venue in which to hear the outstanding voices of the young cast of American singers we’ve assembled – sopranos Kathryn Lewek and Anna Davidson, countertenors Randall Scotting and Daniel Bubeck and bass baritone Tom Corbeil.

“I’m proud to present such a fine young cast here in Hobart. As singers and actors, they are at the top of their game. Kathryn Lewek, for example, comes to Hobart hot on the heels of her debut at the Met in New York where she sang the role of Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute.

The Orchestra of the Antipodes, comprising some of the finest baroque players in the country playing period instruments, will be directed from the harpsichord by Erin Heylard.

Another highly anticipated international guest artist for 2014 is the young and prodigious Russian soprano Julia Lezhneva. “She performed last week in Melbourne in a recital with piano and generated huge excitement.”

“Russian soprano Julia Lezhneva, 24, demonstrated a rare combination of innate talent, disarming sincerity and comprehensive artistry. She possesses not only a precocious, near faultless technique and an often arresting purity of tone but — rather more importantly — a profound musicality and exquisite unity of physical and vocal expression that is quite astounding in one so young.”  — The Australian

“I’m very proud to say that Hobart is the only place in Australia you’ll be able to hear Julia in a full orchestral program” says Leo. “I believe that Julia Lezhneva with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of Oliver Gooch, in Federation Concert Hall will be remembered as one of the great concerts seen in this country.”

Also poised to make a major impact is the Spanish countertenor Xavier Sabata, who will bring to the stage arias written for the ‘bad guys’ of Handel’s operas. His Bad Guys CD has brought him considerable acclaim and is a front-runner in the CD category at the International Opera Awards to be presented in April.

From next Monday there’ll be a week of concerts in the Hobart Town Hall, including the Australian debut of Greek guitar virtuoso Smaro Gregoriadou and the Bach cello sonatas played by the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Timo-Veikko Valve. Young Tasmanian artists will be showcased in a $5 per ticket series each day at 5pm. There is a masterclass, a festival club, free public talks and an Ottoman feast at MONA rounding out this exciting program.

“We are thrilled with the response and support from ticket buyers,” says Jarrod Carland, Executive Director of the festival. “A week out from the opening night, we have virtually tripled the number of tickets sold for the inaugural Hobart Baroque last year and a significant number of events have already sold out.

“Over 48% of our ticket sales are from the mainland so we are particularly encouraged that we’ve managed to create a festival that has enticed such large numbers of people to invest in a trip to Tasmania,” adds Jarrod. “While they are here, they’ll not only experience performances unavailable anywhere else in Australia, but also enjoy all that Hobart and Tasmania have to offer.”

For more information or to book tickets to Hobart Baroque events, visit:

http://www.hobartbaroque.com.au

• Download Festival Overview:

Hobart_Baroque_festival_overview_26_03_14.pdf

Published also in TT Arts, hereListed in TT’s What’s On, here