West Australian Opera has a firm policy: cast Australians first. Or more precisely, West Australians first. If they aren’t available the company will look around the country for singers and only if that fails will international artists be hired. “We’ve got the resources and we’ve got the talent. It’s been our focus and I think it should be,” says WAO Artistic Director Christopher van Tuinen.
Tenor Paul O’Neill, who has an international career but chooses to base himself at home in Perth, will be seen in no fewer than three productions – Carmen, Toscaand La Traviatain 2022. The roster of West Australian artists also includes composer Emma Jayakumar, mezzo-soprano Ashlyn Tymms as Carmen, sopranos Emma Pettemerides and Naomi Johns in the Mozart-Salieri face-off The Dueland Samantha Clarke as Violetta in La Traviata. Notable Australian artists to be seen in 2022 include bass-baritone Warwick Fyfe, baritones José Carbó and Simon Meadows, conductors Rebecca Lang and Dane Lam, and directors Sarah Giles and Stuart Maunder.