Jonathan Holloway’s eclectic mix should have something for everyone plus a few fascinating surprises.

Good things are happening on the West Coast with the Perth Festival’s 2014 program proving spectacularly bold, featuring high-profile premieres, prominent performers and landmark international collaborations.

It’s a smorgasbord of musical offerings. Around the top of most people’s list will be the West Australian Opera’s intriguing new production of Otello . The result of a new partnership with South Africa’s Cape Town Opera, this is the first time Verdi’s masterpiece will be performed in Perth. Antonello Polombi performs the challenging lead role direct from Italy, with Australia’s own Cheryl Barker as Desdemona. With Australian director Simon Phillips at the dramatic helm and Joseph Colaneri on the podium, this is a production that promises to challenge preconceptions.

Making the most of their Australian visit, Cape Town Opera’s Voice of the Nation Ensemblewill present their own unique sound through an innovative program that pairs Verdi’s stirring choruses with American Spirituals, African Hymns and Duke Ellington’s The Sacred Concerts. The 2013 winners of the International Opera Awards “Chorus of the Year”, this respected ensemble will be accompanied by the West Australian Youth Jazz Orchestra’s Big Band.

Top of the experimental...