A forgotten triumph of Venetian opera, Giustino is a fast-paced, kaleidoscopic and fanciful opera packed with arias and old-fashioned wonder. A classic rags-to-riches story of the shepherd Giustino who, through a series of adventures and magical interventions, ultimately becomes the Emperor of Rome. Treacherous journeys on the high seas, siblings embroiled in swashbuckling battles and star-crossed lovers set the scene in Legrenzi’s spectacular operatic setting.
After the successes of The Loves of Apollo and Dafne by Cavalli (2021) and Orontea by Cesti (2022), Pinchgut shines a light on the brilliant composer and grandfather of the da capo aria, Giovanni Legrenzi, who was considered the Puccini of the late 17th century. While Legrenzi’s operatic output was small, he was praised for “exceeding the expectations of many in cultivating charm and delight”, and Giustino is one of his great successes.
With over 70 short arias, Giustino is a truly dynamic and effervescent opera, showcasing Legrenzi’s ability to spin an unending melodic thread, and convey the nuance, mood and shifts in his characters.
A feast for countertenor lovers, Giustino features three: American Nicholas Tamagna makes his Pinchgut debut in the title role, and English star Owen Willetts (The Coronation of Poppea, 2017) makes his anticipated return, alongside Australian favourite Russell Harcourt (Artaserse, 2018). Soprano Lauren Lodge-Campbell and tenor Jacob Lawrence both return to Pinchgut after standout performances in Monteverdi’s The Return of Ulysses (2019). Joining these exceptional artists in the pivotal role of Arianna, is New Zealand born soprano Madeleine Pierard. Madeleine recently stepped in to great acclaim for Simone Young’s performances of Fidelio with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and makes her much anticipated Pinchgut debut in Giustino. A world-class ensemble of expert players from the Orchestra of the Antipodes, led by Erin Helyard, will complete this extraordinary lineup.