Opera Australia Blog

Announcing: our first opera for television!

Hugh Sheridan and Lisa McCune in The Divorce. Photo: Ben King.

Hugh Sheridan and Lisa McCune in The Divorce. Photo: Ben King.

Opera Australia and ABC TV are pleased to announce that production is underway in Melbourne on The Divorce, a contemporary comedic opera written and designed especially for the screen. The Divorce features an impressive ensemble of stars from stage and screen: Lisa McCune, Marina Prior, Hugh Sheridan, Kate Miller-Heidke, John O’May, Matthew McFarlane, Melissa Madden-Gray and Peter Cousens. Vanessa Scammell conducts and the Opera Australia Chorus and the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra feature in the score.

The Divorce is a unique multi-platform project that re-invents opera for television, film and online audiences all across the country.  This playful new approach to a traditional art form is a collaboration between ABC TV Arts, Opera Australia and Princess Pictures and brings together exceptional creative talent from multiple genres. The music by internationally acclaimed composer Elena Kats-Chernin and the libretto by award-winning playwright Joanna Murray-Smith, were originally commissioned by The Opera Conference.  Now this ground-breaking production will be brought to the screen by a team lead by comedy director Dean Murphy (Cliffy, Strange Bedfellows) and cinematographer Roger Lanser (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries).

The Divorce is a humorous, witty and musically rich ‘soap opera’ exploring the universal themes of love, passion, regret, greed and longing that will resonate with a broad audience.

After a long and satisfying marriage, wealthy couple Iris (Marina Prior) and Jed (John O’May), are happily getting a divorce and are throwing an elaborate party at their elegant home to celebrate. But by the end of the evening, Iris and Jed’s divorce has triggered a renegotiation of all certainties and the characters are set on an unanticipated course.

“This unique project underlines the ABC’s commitment to high-quality, prime-time arts entertainment.  ABC Arts is delighted to partner with Princess Pictures and Opera Australia on this wonderful show.” says ABC Executive Producer Christopher Gist.

Princess Pictures Producer Andrea Denholm says “Luscious, light-hearted and over-flowing with talent and glorious music, we look forward to bringing this daring production to screen audiences, opera devotees, lovers of music and comedy and the curious.”

Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini added, “On behalf of Opera Australia and our Opera Conference partners, we are thrilled after several years of development to see The Divorce push the boundaries of the opera art form via the screen.  We have assembled a magnificent cast supported by the musical and vocal expertise of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and Opera Australia Chorus”

Filming of the four-part series and feature length version starts Wednesday 8th July.   The series will air later this year on ABC TV.

Production Credits: A Princess Pictures Production in association with Opera Australia for ABC TV. Composed by Elena Kats-Chernin. Written by Joanna Murray-Smith. Based on an original idea by Lyndon Terracini. Director Dean Murphy. Producer Andrea Denholm. ABC Executive Producer Christopher Gist. ABC Acting Head of Arts Mandy Chang. Financed with the assistance of The Opera Conference, Screen Australia and Film Victoria. The Opera Conference partners are Opera Australia, the State Opera of South Australia, Opera Queensland and the West Australian Opera.

2 Responses to “Announcing: our first opera for television!”

  1. vicki watson

    None of those singers are recognised or trained as opera singers. They jave all made careers in musical theatre or pop. In what way then is rhis an opera? Just not as in sung by opera singers?


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