The Return of Ulysses or should we say the return of our Lecturer in Voice Wade Kernot

NZSM Lecturer, Wade Kernot, reports back about his recent performance with Pinchgut Opera in Sydney

Mid shot of Wade Kernot in full costume performing in Return of Ulysses

I have recently returned (thankfully sooner than Ulysses!) from a production of Il ritorno D’Ulisse in Patria (the return of Ulysses) by Monteverdi for Pinchgut Opera in Sydney. Pinchgut is a fantastic company lead by Maestro Erin Helyard. They are dedicated to presenting lost or rare repertoire from the 17th and 18th centuries. It is quite an exciting time to be involved with Pinchgut as they have recently won an International Opera Award for Best Discovered Work. This is fantastic international recognition for a small team.

I was initially apprehensive taking this contract. Although I have done over 50 roles in over 60 professional productions, I hadn’t done anything this early. Monteverdi feels like a completely different world compared to the “modern” world of Mozart, Verdi and Wagner that I usually live in. Seemingly every aspect was different. Different tonality, instruments, pitch, scale and a tradition of composing ornaments and ritornelli on the spot in rehearsal. It did take a couple of weeks to find the pathway through this music. But I feel I really did discover and learn a vast amount about this music in the 5 weeks of production. Just discovering the technique for a single note trill was hard enough! It was a true ensemble piece with 22 characters played by 10 singers. I sang 3 very different characters Father Time, Neptune and Antinoo (a suitor of Penelope). Instead of ignoring the fact that we were singing multiple characters, the wonderful creative team led by American Director Chas Rader-Shieber, decided to lean into this. All singers were given a base costume and the characters were changed and created in front of the audience. This production was a great success for Pinchgut, with many positive reviews and a well sold season. I look forward to working and expanding my repertoire with them again soon.

To watch a clip from Wades time with the Pinchgut Opera click here