Constantine Costi to direct play for Musica Viva Australia’s first national tour in 2024

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Musica Viva Australia will present two of Australia’s finest musicians, star mezzo-soprano Anna Dowsley and acclaimed Australian pianist Michael Curtain, in a seven-city recital tour of the music of Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer William Bolcom.

The national tour will start in Newcastle on Tuesday 20 February, and conclude in Perth on Sunday, 10 March.

Devised by Paul Kildea and Ian Dickson AM, and written and directed by renowned Australian director, Constantine Costi, this colourful evening of storytelling over the piano weaves together artful cabaret songs to create a poignant meditation on life, love and living in the moment.

Artistic Director Paul Kildea describes the program as “almost a metaphor for the season… an examination of interior and exterior worlds, represented here by offstage and onstage.”

“The brilliant songs of William Bolcom are juxtaposed to create a funny and profound story of a young woman’s life and loves. The music wears the influence of twentieth-century art music and the cabaret scores of 1920’s Weimer,” he said.

Constantine Costi. Photo Opera Australia.
Constantine Costi. Photo: Opera Australia.

85-year-old Bolcom’s extensive list of accolades include the National Medal of Arts, a Grammy Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Music. A prolific composer who has produced more than 300 symphonic works, chamber pieces, and songs, Bolcom’s music has been described by The New York Times as ‘unashamedly theatrical’ and by Classical Net as ‘colourful, brash, and dreamy’.

The program will feature his best-loved songs, settings of Arnold Weinstein’s deliciously dry lyrics, sung by ‘luxuriant mezzo’ (Concerto Net), Anna Dowsley.

Currently based in Frankfurt, Anna made her European debut as Zerlina with Teatro Petrozulli in Italy in 2020, and took the title role in Carmen at the Staatstheater Nürnberg in 2021.

Anna returns to Australia regularly, and has performed with Australia’s finest orchestras and performing arts companies including Opera Australia, Pinchgut Opera, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs.

Anna will be joined on stage by acclaimed accompanist and repetiteur Michael Curtain. A graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Michael is currently the Assistant Chorus Master and Children’s Chorus Master at Opera Australia.

From Amor to At the last lousy moments of love, audiences across the country are sure to be delighted by the duo’s performance of Bolcom’s masterpieces.

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