Interesting individuals and modern historical settings are just what the doctor has ordered for Australia's opera industry — Sydney Chamber Opera (Owen Wingrave, Exil) are dutifully doing their bit to inject some oxygen back into the cultural form.
Sydney composer Michael Smetanin and librettist Alison Croggon combine brainpowers for Mayakovsky, their third opera together. Staying true to their taste for tales with an artistic protagonist (previous figures under the duo's microscope have included Franz Kafka and Paul Gauguin), Mayakovsky tells the turbulent but brief life of Russian revolutionary and poet Vladimir Mayakovsky.
Mayakovsky, dubbed Stalin's favourite poet, will be played by English National Opera regular Simon Lobelson, as part of an all-Australian cast. This world premiere is Sydney Chamber Opera's main production for 2014 and is the only new opera by a living composer that you'll be able to catch in Sydney all year.
With the versatile walls of Carriageworks as a backdrop, there's no better time than now to dip your toes into Australian opera.