2017, Victorian Opera invites you into an operatic storybook coloured with vibrant musical expression, vivid theatricality and the country's brightest talent. Fables unite our season as we revisit beloved stories, fairy tales and legends from writers such as Charles Perrault, Hans Christian Andersen and William S. Burroughs; tales which reflect the deepest truths of the human experience. We retrace varied rites of passage and journeys to new perspectives. We enter a dark wood pierced by shafts of light offering direction, discovery and revelation.

Rarely heard operas from throughout the 20thcentury recur with Leoš Janáček's masterpiece Cunning Little Vixen, Respighi's charming puppet opera The Sleeping Beauty, Copland's youth opera The Second Hurricane and the Australian premiere of Toch's fairy tale opera The Princess and the Pea.

Meow Meow returns to Victorian Opera for a new production with director Cameron Menzies, Kanen Breen and myself; Tis' Pity: An operatic fantasia on selling the skin and the teeth. Breen and Meow Meow bookend our season in a Malthouse Theatre co-production of Tom Waits' musical fable The Black Rider: The Casting of the Magic Bullets.

Operatic dreams continue with the cast of La Sonnambula, the third of our Bellini operas in concert. Besides dear friend of Victorian Opera Jessica Pratt returning, we are privileged to have the wonderful Italian basso cantante Paolo Pecchioli make his first Australian appearance with us.

Stuart Maunder and Roger Kirk reunite for our new production on Cunning Little Vixen. The young and incredibly talented Artistic Director of Sydney Chamber Opera Jack Symonds will conduct Jonathan Dove's orchestration of Janáček's opera in his company debut.

We are thrilled to head to Hobart as part of an ongoing commitment to staging opera in Tasmania from 2017 in a new partnership with the Australian Council and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Following it's Melbourne season, The Sleeping Beauty will be our inaugural production to travel south.

Old stories are retold in new works with Victorian Opera commissions including Gordon Kerry's The Snow Queen, written specifically for Wodonga. Stefan Cassomenos, Dermot Tutty, Katie Noonan and Zac Hurren will each present one of Flaubert's Three Tales in our next foray into live-streaming. Telling new stories and reimagining opera is made possible through the generous support of Creative Victoria.

Join us as we remind ourselves of our journey through life; a journey we can celebrate together with the power of opera and storytelling.

Richard Mills
Artistic Director, Victorian Opera