ABOUT OUR COMPANY
Opera Van Diemensland is a self-funded, semi-professional, community enterprise aimed at helping to develop and nurture opera in Melbourne, Sydney & Hobart. The key method we have adopted to achieve this, is integration. We invite top level professional artists to participate in our productions, in turn, developing artists and community members are able to learn from their direct example. Our professionals artists are not just accessible, they are collaborating with the rest of the cast, they are performing with our cast, they are helping to building the show with our communities and turn their dreams into reality.
In 2015 the company successfully staged a production of TOSCA at the Independent Theatre, Sydney. The project started out as a workshop but as more and more people became inspired by the project it evolved into being a fully staged production. In the end the production was met with great critical acclaim.
Since then many more productions have been staged including performances of La Traviata, La Boheme & Madama Butterfly as well a multitude of regional concert performances.
The company’s first Tasmanian production, Lucia di Lammermoor, opens August 2016, at the Theatre Royal, Hobart. Unlike recent opera projects to grace the stage in Hobart, OVD is predominantly run by locals for the local community. This production will involve elements of the Hobart Chamber Orchestra, a local community chorus, a Tasmanian based production team and a number of professional singers from all around Australia to complete its line-up.
In 2018, OVD foundered the Regional Victorian Arts Collaboration based in Ballarat VIC. Now in 2019 Opera van Diemensland The Savoy Opera Company, Opera van Diemensland, Cordelia's Potted Operas, Ballarat Centre of Music & the Arts and The Melbourne Chamber Choir have joined forces to stage La Boheme. This has become an epic project and its success, only possible due to the belief that anything can be achieved when communities work together.
LEADING FROM EXPERIENCE
& GENERAL MANAGER
In 2003, Martin completed a Masters in Visual & Performing Arts. His thesis was on the secondary communication ideologies between stage and audience. His research was an attempt to discover ways of revitalising audiences for the classical performing arts. To facilitate his work, he began Sydney Youth Opera and mounted a full scale production of Mozart & Salieri at the Riverside Theatre. At this point, his life took a turn toward performing.
His career in creative arts led to performing engagements with the Edinburgh, Sydney and Melbourne Festivals; tours of Queensland, The Northern Territory and Western Australia as well as the United Kingdom and the USA; and performances with the Beijing, BBC, Sydney & Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, Orchestra Victoria, Sydney Youth Orchestra, The Australian Opera-Ballet Orchestra, Opera Australia, Melbourne Lyric Opera, Gertrude Opera and much more.
Such extensive experience on the stage as well as dealing with the administration that goes into facilitating it, has made an excellent foundation for his work in areas of directing, producing, community engagement, and education.
He currently works in an ongoing capacity as Artistic Director & General Manager of Opera Van Diemensland as well as an Associate Producer and creator with Marathon Pictures. Within these companies, he has fulfilled creative roles of performer, script writer, chorus/choir master, director, producer and designer in addition to all the administrative roles of a General Manager.
Further, he worked as a music and drama teacher with secondary schools and private arts education companies. This experience has been invaluable in aiding him to develop and implement community outreach, cultural youth engagement and educational programs. Some of the programs he participated in have run regionally, as well as within city centres. He is currently qualified to teach secondary school performing arts in Victoria.
In 2017, he worked as the Associate Producer on an operatic tour through the United Kingdom and taught in the high schools of London. He developed a music festival to raise money for the Sydney Soup Kitchen and Railaco Mission in East Timor. In 2019 Martin expanded operations to Victoria, establishing a host of collaborations culminating in staged productions of La Boheme & Madama Butterfly as well as a regional concert series spanning 12 performances.
DIRECTOR OF MUSIC
Australia born, Alan Cook began musical studies at the organ. He spent a number of years as organist and choirmaster, and piano teacher in Melbourne, followed by a post-graduate diploma in Opera at the Victorian College of the Arts as a repetiteur and conductor.
He accompanied various masterclasses and concerts, and assisted in Opera productions such as Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, Britten’s The Little Sweep, and Puccini’s La Boheme, Il Tabarro, and Tosca.
In 2004, upon winning an Ian Potter Trust Scholarship and a grant from Acclaim Awards, he went to Europe to further his studies. Living in Italy, he studied conducting with Mº Bruno Aprea of the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome, attended international masterclasses such as at the Musica Riva Festival, and conducted Italian opera masterpieces such as Aïda, Cavalleria Rusticana, Pagliacci and L’Elisir d’Amore in Le Corti dell’Arte summer festival in Salerno, Italy. During this period he had the honour of accompanying a recital of singers at the Puccini Festival, Torre del Lago, the home of the legendary composer, Giacomo Puccini.
Upon moving to Barcelona, Spain, Alan performed as accompanist in many vocal recitals and regularly coached singers including soloists of the prestigious Gran Teatre del Liceu. Alan also commenced relationships with various orchestras in Ukraine and Russia where he guest conducted the Kharkov Symphony Orchestra, was Principal Guest conductor for the Poltava Symphony Orchestra, Ukraine, and of the Murmansk Philharmonic Orchestra, Russia. Alan’s visits to Russia and Ukraine received considerable attention from the media, having appeared in various newspapers and news programmes, including Russia’s most prominent news programme, Vesti, and was subject of a special documentary report.
Recent programmes conducted include various works of Shostakovich (Piano Concerto No.1, Chamber Symphony), Mozart (Violin Concerto No.5), Tchaikovsky (Romeo and Juliet Overture), Prokofiev (Piano Concerto No.1), Dvorak (Symphony No.9 ‘New World’) and premiered in Russia the Piano Concerto No.1 by English composer Howard Blake, which was written for Princess Diana, and the works of contemporary Catalan composer, Salvador Brotons.
A polyglot of 5 languages, Alan also is a keen student of philosophy, having completed a degree at Melbourne University. In 2014, Alan returned to Australia to take up the position of General Manager and Assistant Artistic Director of More Than Opera and in 2016, is director of the Melbourne Chamber Choir.