Baritone Michael Honeyman on Opera Australia’s AIDA

Opera Australia are returning to Melbourne with their critically acclaimed production of Aida.

A production like no other, Aida boasts ten floor-to-ceiling digital screens with immersive video designs, transporting the audience to the beautiful and scenic planes of Egypt. Coupled with opulent costumes and props, the show is a triumph of design which will no doubt set a precedent for future productions.

Michael Honeyman

Playing Amonasro in Opera Australia’s Aida is Michael Honeyman. A graduate of both the Australian National University Canberra and the Australian Opera Studio Perth, Michael Honeyman began his career singing roles such as Lescaut (Manon), Eisenstein (Die Fledermaus), Peter (Hansel and Gretel), Raul St. Brioche (The Merry Widow), Publio (La Clemenza di Tito), Nardo (La Finta Giardiniera), Macheath (The Threepenny Opera), Sam (Trouble in Tahiti), and Salieri (Mozart and Salieri). Aida marked Michael’s first Verdi show, and has revisited it thrice since his initial performance of Amonasro with Handa Opera in 2015 – with Griffith Opera in 2017, and with Opera Australia both in 2018 and the current 2021 season. Michael has since gained a reputation as a specialist in the dramatic baritone roles of Verdi and Puccini, receiving both Green Room and Helpmann Award nominations for numerous performances.

Are you excited to be performing in a show in Melbourne this year?

Michael: Like many of us, I’m really excited about the return of live performance to our theatres. As a regular visitor to Melbourne I’m looking forward to sharing the joy of live opera with the local audiences.

Aida was written 150 years ago – how are Opera Australia keeping it fresh for a 2021 audience?

Michael: Aida is one of the grandest of grand operas. The central love triangle is a timeless story. But the use of digital technology brings a new vibrant dimension to the spectacle and the mythic proportions of the setting.

What is the most challenging part about working with the new technology?

Michael: The most challenging part about working with the new technology is not being overwhelmed or distracted by the images behind you. They are frequently arresting in their vibrancy or sheer beauty.

And the most exciting?

Michael: The use of digital technology in opera is still quite new and extraordinarily promising. It seems that we can create whatever can be imagined.

Why should audiences come to see Aida?

Michael: The phenomenal singing, the rousing choruses, the opulent visual feast (of digital screens, costumes and dancers), plus it’s the first opportunity to see live opera on the State Theatre stage for over a year.

Aida opens at Arts Centre Melbourne’s State Theatre on May 6th.

For tickets and more information, visit the Opera Australia website.

Gabi Bergman

Gabi Bergman is a Melbourne-based performer and educator. 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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