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Opera Gala @ the Union Theatre – RITA by Gaetano Donizetti

November 3, 2023 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

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Following the great success of the April 2022 Opera Gala event, Lithgow City Council presents two performances of the comic Opera RITA, by Gaetano Donizetti in early November 2023.

Directed and translated to English by John Wregg, and starring Catherine Bouchier, Christopher Tonkin, Joshua Oxley and Sharolyn Kimmorley, the performances will be held on Friday 3 and Saturday 4 November at the Lithgow Union Theatre.

Gaetano Donizetti composed the comic opera, RITA in 1841 for the Opera Comique in Paris. He finished the score in just 8 days and gave it the title ‘Two men and a woman’. Unfortunately, the opera was rejected by the Opera Comique and so Donizetti had it translated into Italian for an intended performance in Naples, which also fell through.

The opera was discovered amongst his belongings and ultimately performed at the Opera Comique in 1860 under the title ‘Rita, or the Battered Husband’.

It grew in popularity over time to become one of Donizetti’s most frequently performed operas. The director, John Wregg has created a new translation in English and set the opera in a ‘local’ guest house in the 1950’s.

“After the sellout success of the 2022 Opera Gala, we promised the audience that it wouldn’t be the last, so I am thrilled that John Wregg, with the assistance of Gaye MacFarlane and support of Council, is bringing this wonderful and funny opera to Lithgow,” said the Mayor Maree Statham.

“You don’t have to be an opera buff to enjoy this special night of musical entertainment and food. I encourage the community to come along and experience the delights of opera in the wonderful and historic Union Theatre.”

The Performers

We are thrilled to have once again secured Sharolyn Kimmorley as musical director. A member of the Order of Australia, she is one of Australia’s finest vocal coaches and pianists and has accompanied some of the worlds most distinguished singers.

In the title role of Rita is the Australian born, internationally recognized soprano, Catherine Bouchier. After winning a scholarship to study in Graz, Austria, she relocated to the UK and toured extensively throughout Europe to great acclaim with such roles as Michaela in Carmen. Her vast experience includes concerts for the London Festival Opera, performing in festivals from Puccini Festival on the Armafi Coast to Verdi Highlights in Bari, Italy.

The role of her brow beaten husband Beppe, will be performed by Joshua Oxley. Joshua has already notched up some impressive achievements in the past few years, having toured with Opera Australia in two productions and made his debut in 2018 as Meister Zorn in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürenberg. This year he also appeared as a featured soloist in Peter Shaffer’s play, Amadeus at the Sydney Opera House.

As Gesparo, Rita’s ex-husband, is Australian baritone Christopher Tonkin. Chris has forged an international reputation as a naturally charismatic performer, blending dramatic power and commitment with exceptional vocal prowess. From the grandeur and scale of the Royal Albert Hall to the neo-classical opulence of Staatstheater Hannover and the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House, Christopher has commanded many of the world’s premier stages.

Ticket prices are $60 and $45 concession including pre-show entertainment, light food and with drinks available for purchase.  Tickets are only available online and will go on sale from 9.00am Monday 18 September 2023 at www.Trybooking.com/CLLQG


November 3, 2023
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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Union Theatre
65 Bridge St
Lithgow, NSW 2790 Australia
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