The Royal Opera Opens Australia's First Baroque Music Festival in Hobart

The Royal Opera Opens Australia's First Baroque Music Festival in Hobart
L’isola disabitata
(Courtesy Hobart Baroque)

Hobart, Tasmania had yet to be settled by Europeans during the era of baroque music, yet the City of Hobart is currently playing host to a brand new event celebrating the music of the 17th and 18th centuries. Taking place over nine days from April 12-20, Hobart Baroque will feature a range of exciting performances by a  highly accomplished local and international musicians.  

Hobart Baroque is the culmination of years of planning and preparation by early-music officianado and arts patron Leo Schofield AM. “Over the past eight years I have lobbied, albeit intermittently and subtly, for such a festival and now, with my co-producer Jarrod Carland, the dream is about to become a reality”, says Schofield.

The centre of the event is Hobart’s Theatre Royal, a small Georgian theatre built in 1834 that holds the title of the oldest surviving theatre of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. In a fitting tribute to its status England’s Royal Opera made their Australian debut at the Theatre Royal on April 12 with a performance of L’isola disabitata.

Tasmania’s renowned Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) will host a rare performance of the six suites for unaccompanied cello by Johan Sebastian Bach, to be performed by a group of outstanding young cellists. The Director of MONA, David Walsh, made a valuable contribution to the festival of his own in the form of a funding package for the restoration of an historic 1847 Nixon pipe organ. The organ is housed in MONA’s Organ Room which will host a baroque-inspired banquet on April 20 in celebration of the inaugural Hobart Baroque.

One of the most anticipated performances of the festival was by renowned Australian counter-tenor David Hansen who performed a recital on April 13 featuring a selection of baroque arias. “David Hansen is on the verge of international opera stardom,” said Premier and Minister for the Arts, Lara Giddings. “and I am delighted that Hobart audiences will have the opportunity to hear David perform at the Theatre Royal in his only Australian concert engagement for 2013.”

Hobart Baroque is supported by the Tasmanian Government through Events Tasmania and by businessman and philanthropist, Graeme Wood AM, founder of Wotif. To view the full program visit the Hobart Baroque festival website here