A dream collaboration brings NIDA and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music together

This December, two of Australia’s leading performing arts educators, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (SCM) and the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), will present Britten’s magical operatic take on Shakespeare’s most loved comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, for NIDA’s End of Year Production Season.

With the Sydney Conservatorium of Music performers on stage, the production is mounted by NIDA technical production and stage management, costume, design, props, scenic construction and make-up students.

The opera is conducted by Stephen Mould, Artistic Director of the Con Opera. Award-winning theatre and opera director Kate Gaul, Artistic Director of Siren Theatre Co, brings her contemporary vision to the production.

NIDA CEO Liz Hughes said: ‘Both of these creative organisations are committed to nurturing Australia’s future artists and co-creators. This collaboration has been an intense and rewarding journey for the students to work so closely together in the ever-evolving genre of opera. I’d like to thank the Dean of the Conservatorium, Professor Anna Reid, for this creative opportunity, and we are proud to present this beautiful production at NIDA.’

Professor Anna Reid, Head of School and Dean, Sydney Conservatorium of Music, said: ‘It is with absolute delight that the students from the SCM are collaborating with joint creative work with students from NIDA. We hope through this experience they will each come to appreciate each other’s art, their contribution to performance practice, and make good friends to seed future collaborations. This is a fantastic opportunity for SCM singers and orchestras, and we express our deep thanks to NIDA faculty and students for this ground-breaking opportunity.’

In a joint statement, Director Kate Gaul and Conductor Stephen Mould said: ‘This work requires a new balance in the director/conductor relationship. Any stage director can only be in awe of Shakespeare’s iconic text, and their role is, at least in part to defend the integrity of that text in the opera theatre, a place where text often disappears, as the soprano rises towards the stratospheres. Likewise, any conductor can only be in awe of Britten’s world-scale musical conception of the drama. A closeness of working with the complex dramaturgy that ensues provides an incredibly rewarding experience in exploring the cross-pollination of these musical and literary worlds, colliding and conjoining into the inevitably ‘messy’ world of opera.’

Set design is by Camille Ostrowsky with costume design by Sabina Myers, both NIDA alumnae. Camille has recently worked as a production design assistant for the Australian feature film Bloodshot Heart, and Sabina’s credits include Three Thousand Years of Longing (costume design assistant) and Werther for Opera Australia (costume designer).

For details and more information, visit the NIDA website.

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator, and is the current Deputy Editor-in-Chief of AussieTheatre.com. She holds a Double Arts degree in Theatre Studies and Film/Screen Studies and a Master of Teaching (Secondary Education). Gabi has always been an avid lover of theatre, specifically musicals, and spends way too much money than she’d like to admit on tickets. Her most prized possession is her crate of theatre programs.

Gabi Bergman

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