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A Little Night Music

Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse
27 Jun 2019 - 6 Jul 2019


The most musical of musicals

If anyone can bridge the gap between opera and musicals, it is the incomparable Stephen Sondheim. With his characteristic wit and indelible musical talent comes the most musical of musicals: A Little Night Music.

Over the course of a weekend in the country, an entangled group of worldly characters rekindle lost love, court new liaisons, and flirt with romantic possibilities.

Capturing the uncertainties of love with playfulness and heartbreaking accuracy, A Little Night Music resonates with bittersweet wisdom, and speaks to us all.

From the romance of the night waltzes to the wistful ‘Send in the Clowns’, music theatre lovers will rejoice the return of one of Sondheim’s most beloved musical comedy.

Get ready to fall in love with some magical night music as Victorian Opera welcomes a cast of musical theatre, cabaret and opera stars including Ali McGregor, Simon Gleeson, Nancye Hayes, Samuel Dundas, Verity Hunt-Ballard and Alinta Chidzey.


Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse 

Thursday 27 June, 7:30pm
Friday 28 June, 7:30pm
Saturday 29 June, 7:30pm
Tuesday 2 July, 7:30pm
Wednesday 3 July, 7:30pm
Thursday 4 July, 7:30pm
Friday 5 July, 7:30pm
Saturday 6 July, 1:00pm*

Running time is approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes, plus one interval. Sung in English.

*Audio Description available.

A Little Night Music. Photo: Jeff Busby for Victorian Opera

5 reasons to fall in love with A Little Night Music

  • It is the most cherished and sophisticated musical by the master of the genre, Stephen Sondheim. 
  • Be astounded by the extraordinary talents of this dream cast including Nancye Hayes, Simon Gleeson, Ali McGregor, Verity Hunt-Ballard, and Alinta Chidzey.
  • A big musical of this quality only comes to town every few years and A Little Night Music is the unmissable musical theatre event in Melbourne this year.
  • The playful story will warm your heart on a cold winter night as it depicts love and relationships at their farcical best.
  • The unforgettable and uplifting tunes will stick in your head and have you humming all the way home.


Story & Music

The Story

Middle-aged lawyer Fredrik Egerman has recently married Anne, a virginal teen, and after 11 months is impatient to finally consummate the marriage. His former flame, fading actress Desirée Armfeldt, is in town performing in a play and they encounter each other following her performance. Sympathetic to Fredrik’s predicament, Desirée offers to help her old friend out.

They are interrupted by Desirée’s current lover, the buffoonish Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm, who, while deeply suspicious, convinces himself that nothing untoward is going on. His wife, the wily Countess Charlotte, is less forgiving and reports the encounter to Anne, warning her of Desirée. Meanwhile, Fredrik’s son Henrik is trying to seduce Petra, the family maid, but is also secretly in love with his stepmother.

With a break in her touring schedule, Desirée convinces her mother, Madame Armfeldt, to host a weekend at her country estate so she can invite Fredrik and his family and be close to him once again. Things get complicated when the Count and Countess get wind of the invitation and crash the party. As everyone arrives with their own amorous intentions and hidden desires, heartbeats race and tensions run high.

Simon Gleeson (Fredrik Egerman), Ali McGregor (Desirée Armfeldt) and Samuel Dundas (Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm). Photo: Jeff Busby for Victorian Opera

The Music

Demonstrating Sondheim’s mastery of both melody and lyrics, A Little Night Music is the closest to an operetta of all Sondheim’s works, seamlessly weaving together music, plot and characters.

The luscious score is composed mainly in 3/4 time, like a suite of waltzes which reflects the theme of bourgeois coupling. The summer night’s ‘three smiles’ are represented in three chords and many of the duets refer to a third person. Sondheim also incorporates a number of musical styles including the polonaise and mazurka, and musical influences range from Ravel and Chopin to Beethoven and Satie.

Sondheim uses the full range of female and male voices, blending them into fascinating ensembles, and uses a quintet that functions like a Greek chorus commentating on the action. Desirée’s lament ‘Send in the Clowns’ became Sondheim’s first popular hit after being recorded by Frank Sinatra in 1973, then later by Judy Collins, Barbara Streisand and Bing Crosby.

Listen to Ali McGregor reflect on performing the iconic role of Desirée Armfeldt.

Cast & Creatives

Music and Lyrics by STEPHEN SONDHEIM

Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick
Suggested by a Film by Ingmar Bergman
Originally Produced and Directed on Broadway by Harold Prince

Licensed exclusively by Music Theatre International (Australasia) - All performance materials supplied by Hal Leonard Australia.


Music Director Phoebe Briggs
Director Stuart Maunder AM
Original Designer Roger Kirk AM
Associate Designer Candice MacAllister
Lighting Designer Trudy Dalgleish
Choreographer Elizabeth Hill-Cooper


Mr Lindquist Markus Matheis 
Mrs Nordstrom Michelle McCarthy
Mrs Anderssen Juel Riggall
Mr Erlanson Paul Biencourt
Mrs Segstrom Kirilie Blythman
Fredrika Armfeldt Sophia Wasley
Madame Armfeldt Nancye Hayes AM
Frid, Her Butler Tiernan Maclaren
Henrik Egerman Mat Verevis
Anne Egerman Elisa Colla
Fredrik Egerman Simon Gleeson
Petra Alinta Chidzey
Desirée Armfeldt Ali McGregor
Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm Samuel Dundas
Countess Charlotte Malcolm Verity Hunt-Ballard

Discover more about the cast in This is your musical life.


Victorian Opera Chamber Orchestra

A Little Night Music. Photo: Jeff Busby for Victorian Opera


“★★★★ With a cast this fine, in a production this attractive, the result is fairly irresistible.”

Time Out, 29 June 2019

“★★★★ Bound to bring joy to fans and newcomers of Broadway's master of music's marriage with text.”

Herald Sun, 2 July 2019

“★★★★ Musical devotees must make a night of it.”

Daily Review, 29 June 2019

“★★★★ The familiar pleasures of Sondheim’s masterpiece are refreshed by splendid performers and design”

Limelight Magazine, 28 June 2019