Arts festival director Leo Schofield’s experiences over many years in the international creative world at large should prove to be a powerful driving force behind the success of Hobart Baroque, an all-new cultural event exclusive to Tasmania, celebrating music of the 17th and 18th centuries to be held from April 12 – 20, 2013.

To date there has not been a festival of music in Australia dedicated specifically to European compositions of the 17th and 18th centuries in the ‘early music’, or so-called Baroque style. All that is about to change, and wonderfully in tune with both its original philosophical and intellectual intent. It’s all thanks to Schofield, who is passionate about beauty, early music and the ongoing success of this lovely island state, having lived there for many years both full and part time.

Hobart, with its tranquility and elegance, is already a ‘treasure island’ and now is the perfect choice of a city in Australia where many will be able to enjoy the intimacy of the music of friends. Its wonderful waterfront area is dotted with finely conserved historic harmonious buildings, where the equally beautiful early music to be featured will linger long and resonate royally.

The Premier of Tasmania, Lara Giddings, said: “Hobart is honoured to be playing host to the first opera presentation from the internationally famous Royal Opera House, Covent Garden at London. Hobart Baroque is the only classical music event specifically dedicated to early music, yet another unique reason for tourists to visit this historic capital.”

The Theatre Royal at Hobart, once described by English actor Laurence Olivier as a ‘Georgian Jewel’ when he played there in School for Scandal for the Old Vic in 1948, is the perfect choice for a venue to centre a music festival that champions the current resurgence of interest in ‘early music all over the world. It is the oldest such building in Australia, and certainly one of the oldest surviving early 19th century theatres in the southern hemisphere.

Leo Schofield’s co-producer Jarrod Carland is as excited as he is at the prospect of presenting the premiere of an opera production from the Royal Opera House at London in such a historic place as Hobart. The Theatre Royal has remarkably been in continuous use since 1834 and its splendid architectural acoustic is the ideal space for enjoying music designed for intimate performance. The wonderful collaboration with the Royal Opera House (ROH) at London means that some of its finest young singers will travel to the antipodes to perform L’isola disabitata ‘the uninhabited island’ an opera by Joseph Haydn.  It premiered in December 1779, a the Eszterházy court in the Kingdom of Hungary in a right royal residence often referred to as the ‘Hungarian Versailles’.

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