LSM Newswire

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Opera Australia: Triumphant Farewell for John Pringle

On Friday 24 October 2008 John Pringle AM will give his final performance with Opera Australia. To mark the occasion and celebrate his remarkable career, the cast and chorus of The Makropulos Secret will gather on the Sydney Opera House stage after the performance to see him presented with the Opera Australia Trophy.

John Pringle is currently appearing in the role of Prus in Janacek's The Makropulos Secret, has been with Australia's national opera company for over forty years. He graduated from Melbourne University as a pharmacist but at the age of 28 music took over. His first appearance with the Australian Opera, as it was then, was in Die Fledermaus at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne in 1967, and in 1973 he was part of the Company's historic first season at the Sydney Opera House singing the role of Count Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro.

Over the last four decades John Pringle has thrilled audiences on stages in Australia, Europe and the US. The great Mozart roles have dominated his career, with appearances as Figaro, Don Giovanni, Papageno, Guglielmo, Don Alfonso and, in his final Melbourne performances in November last year, Leporello.

Beyond Mozart, he has also made his mark singing the great baritone roles of Rossini, Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Puccini, Janacek, Shostakovich, Britten and Berg. On stage he has died, committed murders, cracked jokes and kissed countless divas from Dame Joan Sutherland and Sumi Jo to Emma Matthews. He has appeared with operatic heroes such as Tito Gobbi, and even spent eight months learning Russian to sing the title role of Eugene Onegin.

One of the many highlights of his career came just five years ago, when Simone Young asked him to take on the role of Doctor Schon / Jack the Ripper in Berg's Lulu. "It was the most difficult part I'd ever learned" says Pringle; "performing it was like walking a tightrope over a pit of venomous snakes. But the high you felt afterwards’Ķ Who needs drugs?"

In receiving the Opera Australia Trophy John Pringle joins an illustrious band of artists. The Trophy is a magnificent silver bowl, commissioned from master craftsman David Cruikshank, and past recipients include Dame Joan Sutherland, Moffatt Oxenbould, Donald Shanks and Joan Carden. Anson Austin, also a recipient of the trophy, will make the presentation with Adrian Collette, Chief Executive of Opera Australia.

Adrian Collette comments: "John Pringle is one of the artists on which our company has been built. He has been there almost from the beginning and has stuck with us through thick and thin, a great actor, a magnificent singer and, above all, a real ensemble player loved and admired by colleagues and audiences alike."

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