A dream collaboration – The University of Sydney

Opera song

“This production of A Midsummer Night’s dream marks the start of a meaningful collaboration between NIDA and SCM.

Britten preserved and captured all the comedic nuances of the play, creating a musical masterpiece filled with hauntingly graceful melodies, vivid orchestration, perfect harmony, and powerful vocal textures, providing individual players with the opportunity to shine, to characterize and also to portray humor.

SCM student and countertenor Michael Burden will sing the role of Oberon – The Fairy King.

“Oberon is one of those bucket list roles that every Countertenor aspires to someday play. Tackling this role at a key stage in my development as an artist is something that really excites me; and something that I feel very privileged to be able to undertake, ”said Michael.

“The union of two infinitely creative minds in Shakespeare and Britten has resulted in a veritable opera gem; and bringing this score to life with Kate Gaul’s deeply real and grainy vision is just the icing on the cake!

The countertenor voice type is a rarity compared to the more traditionally gendered voices of sopranos, altos, tenors and basses – it is best described as a male soprano or viola voice. However, it was precisely this rarity and uniqueness of the voice that first inspired Britten to compose the role of Oberon for a countertenor.

Alfred Deller created the role in 1960, and it is his voice and this opera that mark the genesis of the opera countertenor. Michaels says: “The fact that I can pursue a career in opera owes a lot to a lot, the support of the Sydney Conservatory for one, but I am extremely indebted to Britten’s pioneering writing and Deller’s vocals in A Midsummer Night’s dream. It’s definitely like I’m stepping into this legacy of countertenors in this production, and frankly, it’s so exciting to me.

“Having the expertise and support of NIDA’s incredible production team has been invaluable in making this opera. The dedication of the students at NIDA and Con in all aspects of this show has always stunned me, even when locked out!

A Midsummer Night’s dream is a delight for all the senses. There is so much to see, hear, feel in this show, and you will certainly come out as transformed as those in this opera forest.

The opera is directed by Stephen Mold, artistic director of SCM’s Con Opera. Award-winning opera director Kate Gaul, artistic director of Siren Theater Co, brings her contemporary vision to the production.


Opening on December 4, 7 p.m.

December 7, 7 p.m.

December 9, 11 a.m.

December 11, 2 p.m.

NIDA Parade Theater, Anzac Parade, Kensington

The Sydney Conservatorium of Music acknowledges the generous support of the Alan Hyland and John Luscombe Foundation