Opera in the Park


Love, Lust and Longing

Returning in 2015, Opera in the Park is one of the City of Stonnington’s hallmark free events and is an annual favourite with Melbourne music lovers. Cheryl Barker, one of Australia’s finest sopranos, will lead an acclaimed cast of singers, including an exclusive appearance by international Australian tenor John Heuzenroeder at Opera in the Park.

Cheryl will be singing sections of Madama Butterfly a role for which she has achieved international acclaim: Cheryl Barker is one of the finest sopranos to emerge from Australia in recent years, Cheryl is particularly noted internationally for her performances of Madama Butterfly, singing this role for English National Opera, De Vlaamse Opera, Hamburg State Opera, Deutsche Oper, Berlin, Netherlands Opera and Houston Grand Opera.

The theme of Love, Lust and Longing will thrill audiences, interweaving arias and duets around this theme from some of the most enduringly popular operas from the repertoire including; Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Carmen and La boheme

In another Opera in the Park first, as twilight and evening falls, a full-scale lighting installation will illuminate the parklands and combined with the musical offerings we will be transporting our audience into an aural and visual wonderland.

Hosted by ABC Classic FM’s Mairi Nicolson (Afternoons & The Opera Show), we will get up close and personal with these remarkable artists to learn a bit more about them and the art form along the way. There are still some surprises to announce but I’d be staking your picnic place nice and early. This Opera in the Park will be unforgettable.

Saturday 7 February 2015
Victoria Gardens, High Street, Prahran
Free event

Featured artists:


Cheryl Barker, Soprano  

Cheryl Australian born Cheryl Barker has a remarkable international career, performing regularly for English National Opera, De Vlaamse Opera, Hamburg State Opera, Deutsche Oper, Berlin, Netherlands Opera and Houston Grand Opera. Opera Australia performances include Nedda/I pagliacci, Countess/Le nozze di Figaro, Mimì in the award winning Baz Luhrmann production of La bohème, Violetta/La traviata, Donna Elvira/Don Giovanni, Tatyana, Giorgetta, Suor Angelica and Lauretta (Il Trittico) and the title roles in Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Jenufa, Rusalka, Arabella and Salome for which she won Green Room and Helpmann Awards. Cheryl Barker has also appeared at many prestigious international venues including London's Barbican, Royal Albert Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wigmore Hall, St John's Smith Square and the Halle Orchestra.




Roxane Hislop, Mezzo Soprano


Roxane Hislop is a graduate of Sydney University and the NSW Conservatorium of Music. She won the Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship, the Inaugural AIMS Scholarship, the Dame Mabel Brooks Scholarship and the Sydney Sun Aria Award, and represented Australia at the National finals of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in New York.

Roxane was awarded a Green Room Award for best female artist in a supporting role for her performances as Maddalena (Rigoletto) and Olga (Eugene Onegin). With an Operatic repertoire of over 50 roles, she has appeared with every major opera company and symphony orchestra in Australia.

Recent performance highlights include guest soloist in Victorian Opera’s Proms Concert Games of Love and Chance. In 2013 Roxane sang the role of Mrs Herring in Albert Herring for Opera Australia in Sydney and the role of Rossweisse in Die Walküre in Opera Australia’s Melbourne Ring Cycle, as well as covering the roles of Azucena in Il trovatore, and Erda and Flosshilde in The Ring Cycle for Opera Australia.




John BW

John Bolton Wood AM, Baritone


John BWA celebrated performer and the winner of five Green Room Awards, John Bolton Wood AM received his music education at the NSW Conservatorium of Music and the London Opera Centre, and made his UK debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Bosun in Billy Budd. He returned to Australia in 1973 to perform the role of Roderick Usher in Larry Sitsky’s Fall of the House of Usher.
John’s notable operatic engagements include Dr Bartolo (Il barbiere di Siviglia) for the Welsh National Opera, Opera Queensland, Victorian Opera and Wellington City Opera; the title role in Rigoletto for Opera Queensland, Victoria State Opera and New Zealand Opera; Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Sacristan (Tosca), Baron Douphol and Dr Grenville (La traviata) and Fra Melitone (La forza del destino) for Opera Queensland; Frank (Die Fledermaus) for Opera Queensland and State Opera of South Australia; Germont Père (La traviata) and Smirnov (The Bear) for Victorian Opera; the title role in Gianni Schicchi for Opera New Zealand.




John Heuzenroeder, Tenor

Australian Tenor, John Heuzenroeder began his musical Studies at the Canberra School of Music and graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts with Honours. He completed his Masters in Advanced Opera at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (2000). For BBC TV, John took part in a masterclass with Sir Thomas Allen at the Linbury Theatre, Covent Garden. Other public masterclasses included tuition from Barbara Bonney, Benjamin Luxon, and Dame Joan Sutherland. John is currently engaged at the Cologne Opera where recent roles have included Quint/ The Turn of the Screw, Oronte/ Alcina, Kaufmann/ Lenz (Rihm), Pedrillo/ The Abduction from the Seraglio and Abrenuncio/ Love and other Demons (Eötvös). For Opera Australia, John has performed Tom Rakewell/ The Rake´s Progress, Don Ottavio/ Don Giovanni and the Novice/ Billy Budd for which he was nominated for a Green Room Award. In concert, John has sung many of Bach´s Cantatas and other vocal works including the arias in St. Matthew Passion.



Anna-Louise Cole

Anna-Louise Cole, Soprano

Anna-Louise Cole made her debut with Melbourne Opera as Zerlina in Don Giovanni, and has subsequently performed roles including Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte), Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Frasquita (Carmen), Serpina (La serva padrona), Suor Dolcina (Suor Angelica), and Annina (La traviata).



Shanul Sharma, Tenor

Shanul Sharma, Tenor

Shanul Sharma began his singing career as lead vocalist for heavy metal bands. In late 2010, Shanul decided to pursue a ‘classical’ path. In 2012, Shanul relocated to Melbourne and has since performed roles including Piangi (Phantom of the Opera) Engineer (Miss Saigon), Prince Ramiro in an adaptation of Rossini's La cenerentola for Opera Australia's Victorian Schools Tour, and the titular role in Lyric Opera of Melbourne’s production of Massenet's Werther.

Host: Mairi Nicolson

Mairi’s career as a broadcaster for three decades with the ABC and BBC has taken her from the Sydney Opera House to New York’s Avery Fischer Hall, to the Royal Albert Hall London and Hamer Hall, Melbourne. Her passion for classical music has given her a unique breadth of experience as a public speaker and radio host closely connected with musicians.Currently based with ABC Classic FM, Mairi presents The Opera Show and Music Makers, as well as local and international orchestral concerts.

Artistic Director: Suzanne Chaundy

Suzanne Chaundy is a highly experienced opera director and producer. Trained at NIDA, she has directed for Opera Australia, West Australian Opera, the Victorian State Opera and Melbourne Opera. She has also been general manager/artistic director of Australia’s internationally acclaimed outdoor performance troupe Strange Fruit, general manager of Theatre Works, producer of OPERAtion:Covent Garden, works in communications and events for Melba Opera Trust and is currently directing Der Freischutz for Melbourne Opera. 

Musical Director: Raymond Lawrence

Raymond is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music where he studied composition under renowned Australian composer Gerard Brophy.  Following his studies he joined Opera Queensland's Young Artist Program as a repetiteur where he was also Music Director for their Moving Opera! Program and the company's touring schools production of Hansel und Gretel.
Raymond is Musical Director for Opera Australia's Victorian Schools Tour and has worked as repetiteur for Opera Australia, Victoria Opera and Melbourne Opera. Since 2011 Raymond has been Head of Music and Chorus Master for Melbourne Opera and has conducted company performances of Verdi's La traviata, Lehar's The Merry Widow, MO's Verdi Gala and Bizet's The Pearl Fishers. 


What is parking like?
We recommend you walk, ride a bike or take Tram 6, which stops in front of the Park - Stop 34. On-street parking is available but we recommend you allow plenty of time to find a space. 

Will food be available at the event?
We’ve organised some fantastic food vendors for the night. If that’s not your thing, you can bring your own picnic. 

Is alcohol permitted?
Attendees are welcome to BYO. 

What is Disability Access like? 
The wheelchair drop off point is at the Murray Street entrance to the park. Keep in mind this is a drop off point only – allow plenty of time to find a parking space elsewhere. Hearing loops are available and are located next to the sound desk. Disabled toilets are also available. 
Are pets allowed?
Opera loving dogs are welcome on-leashes.

Venue: Victoria Gardens, High Street, Prahran

Event Organiser: City of Stonnington

Entry Fees: Free

Start Time: 7.30pm

End Time: 9.30pm

Back to Events

What’s on

Events Calendar
February 2015