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Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra

Photo: Branco Gaica

The Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra (AOBO) is the busiest of all Australian orchestras, giving around 250 performances each year. A wholly owned subsidiary of Opera Australia, the AOBO performs for Opera Australia and The Australian Ballet during their respective Sydney seasons.

Formerly the Sydney Elizabethan Orchestra, the AOBO has earned a reputation for warmth of sound and impressive flexibility in the most challenging of environments. The repertory performance schedule of Opera Australia means that up to five different productions are being performed and prepared at any one time, resulting in up to 8 performances per week. The confined space of the orchestra pit presents occupational health and safety issues, mainly high noise levels. Excellent seasonal and casual musicians provide respite for the permanent musicians of the Orchestra.

Notable recent productions for Opera Australia in the last year have included: Opera on Sydney Harbour- La Traviata, which saw the orchestra playing on a harbour stage in the acclaimed first season of this landmark Sydney event;  Die Tote Stadt, a ground-breaking production conducted by Christian Badea and directed by Bruce Beresford, which featured the orchestra “beamed” into the Sydney Opera House Opera Theatre from The Studio; and The Australian Ballet‘s wonderful season of  Prokofieff’s Romeo and Juliet directed by Graeme Murphy and conducted by Nicolette Fraillon.

The Orchestra also features on recent recordings of live performances in the Sydney Opera House of The Marriage of Figaro, Rigoletto, Der Rosenkavalier, and La Boheme and Swan Lake  for cinema and DVD release.