Sydney-based Pinchgut opera continues to excite and enthrall with its offering for 2018 including Athalia, a rarely staged Handel oratorio, and Artaserse, an opera by a neglected German master, Johann Adolph Hasse. And in a real casting coup, not only will a host of top Australian talent be returning to Sydney following success overseas, Pinchgut has secured the services of American soprano Vivica Genaux who thrilled audiences at 2016’s Brisbane Baroque.

Vivica Genaux at Brisbane Baroque, 2016

“I wanted to revisit the world of the Handel oratorio following two great successes in the last year,” Artistic Director Erin Helyard told Limelight. “One was Saul[Barrie Kosky’s production for Adelaide Festival which Helyard conducted] and the other was Theodora[Lindy Hume’s staging for Pinchgut this year]. Investigating the dramatic potential in Handel oratorios is a really interesting way forward for Pinchgut. Oh, and since we’ve got a new contrabassoon, we can use it again!”

Helyard chose Athalia, written for Oxford in 1733 and the oratorio that immediately preceded Saul, because of its prominent role for the chorus. But with a wicked...