« Les contes d’Hoffmann », Offenbach, from september 11th to december 13th, Sydney

In an artis­tic coup for our natio­nal ope­ra com­pa­ny, Richard Hickox conducts a new pro­duc­tion of The Tales of Hoff­mann direc­ted by Stuart Maun­der and fea­tu­ring one of Aus­tra­lia’s most exci­ting artists, Emma Mat­thews, playing four dif­ferent roles to create Hoff­mann’s ulti­mate woman.

The star­ry-eyed Hoff­mann is entran­ced by Olym­pia, sedu­ced by Giu­liet­ta and obses­sed by fra­gile Anto­nia, and when he meets Stel­la he thinks she might be the one. But is love playing cruel tricks ? Offen­ba­ch’s cap­ti­va­ting unders­cores this fan­tas­tic gar­land of stories.

Rosa­rio La Spi­na makes his debut in the chal­len­ging role of Hoff­mann, with John Wegner as the four vil­lains. John Pringle is the eccen­tric inven­tor Spa­lan­za­ni, and Pame­la Helen Ste­phen plays Hoff­mann’s muse and com­pa­nion, sin­ging Offen­ba­ch’s much-loved « Barcarolle ».

Les contes d’Hoffmann – Jacques Offenbach
From : Sep 2007, Tue 11th – To : Dec 2007, Thu 13th


Rosa­rio La Spi­na, the outs­tan­ding Aus­tra­lian-born tenor, trai­ned at the Queens­land Conser­va­to­rium of Music conti­nuing his stu­dies at RNCM, Man­ches­ter under the tute­lage of Joseph Ward OBE. During this per­iod, he made guest appea­rances as Artu­ro in Lucia di Lam­mer­moor at the Bern Stadt­thea­ter and as a soloist in ope­ra­tic galas with the Ulster Orches­tra, Bel­fast and the Cai­ro Sym­pho­ny Orches­tra, Egypt.
Having gai­ned first prize in the tenor com­pe­ti­tion held by L’Ac­ca­de­mia di La Sca­la in 2000, Rosa­rio embar­ked on the two-year Young Sin­gers” Course at La Sca­la, Milan, where he stu­died with Lucia­na Ser­ra and Ley­la Gen­cer. This culmi­na­ted in his La Sca­la debut as the Mes­sen­ger in Sam­son and Deli­lah, where he appea­red with Pla­ci­do Domin­go and Olga Boro­di­na. In 2002, Rosa­rio won first prize in the « Mario Del Mona­co Inter­na­tio­nal Com­pe­ti­tion » and made his prin­ci­pal role debut at La Sca­la as Ric­car­do in ’s Ober­to, repri­sing the role in Geno­va.

2003 saw his debut at the Ver­di Fes­ti­val at the Tea­tro Regio di Par­ma as Arvi­no in I Lom­bar­di — he also cove­red the role of Man­ri­co (Il Tro­va­tore) for Welsh Natio­nal Ope­ra and per­for­med Alfre­do (La Tra­via­ta) in Mode­na and Lui­gi (Il Tabar­ro) in Osa­ka, Japan.

Rosa­rio has wor­ked with many lea­ding conduc­tors inclu­ding Richard Hickox, Rena­to Palum­bo, Bru­no Bar­to­let­ti, Gary Ber­ti­ni and Daniele Cal­le­ga­ri and direc­tors such as Pier Lui­gi Piz­zi, Gra­ham Vick, Lam­ber­to Pugel­li, Hugo De Ana and Jona­than Miller.

In 2004, Rosa­rio sang The Duke in Rigo­let­to for New Zea­land Ope­ra, Cava­ra­dos­si (Tos­ca) under Richard Hickox at the Endel­lion Fes­ti­val, Canio (Pagliac­ci) with the Tai­pei Sym­pho­ny Orches­tra, Tai­wan and tou­red Spain in concert with the Par­ma Ensemble.

In 2005, he sang Cava­ra­dos­si, Rodol­fo and The Prince (Love for Three Oranges) for Ope­ra Aus­tra­lia, Alfre­do for West Aus­tra­lian Ope­ra, per­for­med the tenor solos in ’s Cho­ral Fan­ta­sy and Mass in C (Glo­ria and Bene­dic­tus) with the Syd­ney Sym­pho­ny and appea­red as tenor soloist with the Mel­bourne Sym­pho­ny Orches­tra in their Clas­si­cal Spec­ta­cu­lar series. In 2006, he por­trayed Pin­ker­ton (Mada­ma But­ter­fly) for Ope­ra Aus­tra­lia and West Aus­tra­lian Ope­ra, The Duke for Ope­ra Aus­tra­lia as well as appea­ring as soloist in the Clas­si­cal Spec­ta­cu­lar concerts with the Mel­bourne and Syd­ney Sym­pho­ny Orches­tras and The Queens­land Orches­tra. In 2007, Rosa­rio will sing Alfre­do, The Prince in Rusal­ka and the title role in The Tales of Hoff­mann for Ope­ra Aus­tra­lia and will make his debut at Seat­tle Ope­ra as Rodolfo.


Emma Mat­thews is one of Aus­tra­lia’s finest young per­for­mers. She is cur­rent­ly a prin­ci­pal artist with Ope­ra Aus­tra­lia for whom she made her debut as Dami­gel­la in ’s L’In­co­ro­na­zione di Pop­pea in 1993.

In 2001, Emma has per­for­med as Ismene in Gra­ham Vick’s pro­duc­tion of Mitri­date, re di Pon­to for the Syd­ney Fes­ti­val and for Ope­ra Aus­tra­lia, Sta­si in Gyp­sy Prin­cess, Geno­vief­fa in Suor Ange­li­ca, Zwaan­tie in Richard Mil­ls” new ope­ra Bata­via and, cur­rent­ly, Olym­pia in Tales of Hoffmann.

Roles for Ope­ra Aus­tra­lia in recent years have inclu­ded Almi­re­na (Rinal­do), Ser­vi­lia (La Cle­men­za di Tito), Ilia (Ido­me­neo), Blonde (The Abduc­tion from the Sera­glio), Pami­na (The Magic Flute), Che­ru­bi­no (The Mar­riage of Figa­ro), Hero (Béa­trice et Béné­dict), Marie (La Fille du régi­ment) Nanet­ta (Fal­staff), Sophie (Wer­ther), Adele (Die Fle­der­maus) and Mor­ga­na (Alci­na),

Emma is high­ly regar­ded as a concert artist and per­forms regu­lar­ly with the Sym­pho­ny Aus­tra­lia Orches­tras and the Syd­ney Phil­har­mo­nia Choir. Recent concert high­lights include Mah­ler’s 4th Sym­pho­ny, Fau­re’s Requiem, ’s Glo­ria, ’s Coro­na­tion Mass, Exul­tate Jubi­late and Requiem, Haydn’s Nel­son Mass, Han­del’s Mes­siah, Grieg’s Peer Gynt, Bach’s St John Pas­sion and St Mat­thew Pas­sion and Vil­la-Lobos” Bachi­na­ras No. 5.

Other signi­fi­cant per­for­mances include Dido and Aeneas with the Mark Mor­ris Dance Com­pa­ny, the Aus­tra­lia pre­miere of Mino­ru Miki’s Para­phrase of Ancient Japa­nese Music with the Pro Musi­ca Nip­po­nia Ensemble and the role of Anna in a concert per­for­mance of Andrew Schultz’s Black River with Music Theatre Syd­ney. Emma has also per­for­med at the Inter­na­tio­nal Fashion Awards in and is a regu­lar soloist at the Syd­ney, Mel­bourne, Ade­laide and Hun­ting­ton Festivals.

Awards include the 1996 Remy Mar­tin Aus­tra­lian Ope­ra Award and the Green Room Award for best female sin­ger in a sup­por­ting role for her work in La Cle­men­za di Tito and Rinal­do in 1999 and The Mar­riage of Figa­ro in 2000.

Dr Miracle/

John Wegner was born in Ger­ma­ny but grew up in Aus­tra­lia. He com­ple­ted an Asso­ciate Diplo­ma in Ope­ra and Music Theatre at the Vic­to­rian Col­lege of the Arts, Mel­bourne, Aus­tra­lia. He per­for­med with the Aus­tra­lian Ope­ra as a Bass for ele­ven years (1981–1992), before retur­ning to Europe to move into the Hel­den Bari­tone reper­toire at the Badisches Staats­thea­ter, Karls­ruhe where he made his Euro­pean debut as Jocha­naan in Salome.
John Wegner is renow­ned for his acting talent and the psy­cho­lo­gi­cal insights he brings to his roles. During his time in Aus­tra­lia in 1997 he was awar­ded the Green Room Award for Best Male Per­for­mer in Ope­ra for the role of Hollän­der in Der Flie­gende Hollän­der. In June 1999 he won the Aus­tra­lian Enter­tain­ment Indus­try “Mo” Award as Ope­ra Per­for­mer of the Year.

John Wegner’s impres­sive Hel­den Bari­tone voice conti­nues to make an impact in the ope­ra houses of Europe with per­for­mances in major cities inclu­ding Prague, Milan, Dà¼s­sel­dorf, Stutt­gart, Ber­lin, Brus­sels, Oslo and across the globe in Australia.

John Wegner’s recor­dings include Wotan/Wanderer in the Wag­ner Ring Cycle on the Bel­la Musi­ca label. Vil­lains – Sinis­ter Songs and Arias by ABC Clas­sics Aus­tra­lia and Arbo­gast in the World Pre­miere per­for­mances of Sieg­fried Wag­ner’s “Die Hei­lige Linde”.


Pame­la Helen Ste­phen is a mez­zo- who by 2000 had esta­bli­shed a natio­nal career in ope­ra houses of her native Bri­tain.

She atten­ded col­lege at Aber­deen, Scot­land, and then ear­ned her bache­lor’s degree in musi­cal per­for­mance in 1986 from the Royal Scot­tish Aca­de­my of Music and Dra­ma. She pur­sued post-gra­duate stu­dies, obtai­ning cer­ti­fi­cates in ope­ra and in the field of Lie­der and ora­to­rio singing.

At the Royal Scot­tish Aca­de­my of Music and Dra­ma she appea­red in the roles of Ziti in Gian­ni Schic­chi, Che­ru­bi­no in The Mar­riage of Figa­ro, Madam Knorr and Mrs. Fischer in the world pre­miere of Tom Stop­pard’s On the Razzle, and the Duchess in The Din­ner Enga­ge­ment.

She has sung lea­ding parts at ope­ra work­shop fes­ti­vals : Lucre­tia in The Rape of Lucre­tia by Ben­ja­min Brit­ten at the Aspen Ope­ra Theatre Cen­ter and the title role of ’s Car­men at Clon­ter Farm.

Her debut at the Royal Ope­ra House, Covent Gar­den was as Mrs. Bubble in Vau­ghan Williams” The Pil­grim’s Pro­gress. There she has also sung the parts of Mop­pett and the Goose in Brit­ten’s Paul Bunyan. At the Bar­bi­can Centre in Lon­don she sang in Caval­le­ria Rus­ti­ca­na, Fati­ma in Obe­ron, and Mrs. Jenks in Copland’s The Ten­der Land. She has appea­red in the BBC Proms Concerts as Tes­sa in The Gon­do­liers, and as a Squire and a Flo­wer Mai­den in Wag­ner’s Parsifal.

Over­seas, Ste­phen appea­red at the Los Angeles Ope­ra as Hero­dias” Page in Strauss” Salome (1998), retur­ning as Mad­da­le­na in Ver­di’s Rigo­let­to (2000). She has appea­red in the Spo­le­to Fes­ti­val as the Male Fox in Janà¡cek’s Cun­ning Lit­tle Vixen (1998), in Ros­si­ni’s Sta­bat Mat­ter and as Sonya in Pro­ko­fiev’s War and Peace (1999), and in her own solo reci­tal (2000). She has recor­ded the part of Sonya in Chan­dos Records” recor­ding of the Pro­ko­fiev opera.

À propos : Fabien

Après avoir travaillé le chant au Centre d'Arts Polyphoniques de Paris, il entre en 1995 au Conservatoire de Gagny où il est l'élève d'Evelyne Razimowsky en classe de Chant et de Jean-Louis Calvani en classe d'Art Lyrique. Il poursuit ensuite son perfectionnement avec Florence Montana au Conservatoire de Vincennes, puis au Conservatoire de Musique de Nouvelle Calédonie.

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