Published on June 28th, 2024 | by Andrew Bistak

Opera superstar Nicole Car returns home for exclusive performances in Opera Australia’s Puccini Gala

In two Melbourne-exclusive concerts, one of Australia’s greatest operatic exports soprano Nicole Car returns home to Melbourne for her only Australian appearance this year, Opera Australia’s Puccini Gala at Hamer Hall on 25 and 27 July.

Giacomo Puccini was a defining force in opera at the turn of the 20th century and many of his works are still the most-performed in opera houses around the world: La Bohème, Turandot, Tosca and Madama Butterfly.

Puccini has had a significant impact on Car; a production of Tosca by Opera Australia at Arts Centre Melbourne was her first taste of opera at age 17, and Mimì from La Bohème has become one of her signature roles having performed it over 50 times in more than 10 different cities, including at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Met, New York.

Car will be joined onstage by a powerhouse cast of singers, including Australians Peter Coleman-Wright AO and Julie Lea Goodwin, as well as the great Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja, in his debut performance with the company.

Also returning to Australia for this concert is celebrated Australian conductor Daniel Smith.

Smith says that the Puccini Gala will be a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the timeless magic of Puccini’s work and that he is especially honoured to celebrate with audiences in Australia, his first return to the stage on home shores since conducting the Green Room Award winning Il Viaggio a Reims in 2019.

“Returning to Australia to conduct this Gala is a professional honour and a personal homecoming. As I live minutes from Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome where the Act 3 of Tosca is set, I am thrilled to share the passion, drama and exquisite beauty of Puccini’s music with audiences in my home country.” Smith said.

“Puccini’s music, with its profound emotional depth and masterful orchestration, has a unique ability to touch the soul and transcend time. His works are a testament to the power of opera to convey the deepest human emotions and stories.”

Smith will guide the cast and the superb Orchestra Victoria through some of Puccini’s greatest arias as well as some of his lesser known gems in a splendid evening of opera.

The full repertoire for the Puccini Gala concert is available at

About the Author

When he's not trying to save the world, Andrew enjoys travel (although loathes turbulence), going to the movies, reading and being a dad to his two dogs (and now twins) with his wife.

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