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Gioachino Rossini

William Tell

Palais Theatre
14 Jul 2018 - 19 Jul 2018

Epic, Legendary, Unmissable

The legendary tale of the sharp-shooting hero on a quest for freedom makes for grand opera: a struggle for liberty against oppression and the courage that victory demands.

Rossini’s final masterwork, famed for its iconic overture, will be staged in Australia for the first time in over a century. Epic opera demands epic staging and director Rodula Gaitanou (Royal Opera House, Opera Holland Park) and designer Simon Corder tackle Tell with grit and grandeur.

Hope illuminates a darkened world in this striking new production.

Once-in-a-lifetime operatic event

Rarely staged because of its epic length and formidable score, it has been over 140 years since William Tell was performed in Australia. Created in 1829 for the Paris Opera in the tradition of grand opéra – extravagant spectacles designed by multiple committees – it was not intended to be always performed in full. Rossini wrote additional music to be selected or cut depending on the scale of each production.

From the original five hours of music, our version will come in at around three hours, with a focus on the narrative and dramatic aspects which will grip modern audiences. This action-packed epic includes storylines in both the civic and private spheres: the struggle of a pastoral community against a mechanised military power, as well as the personal conflicts of romance and family that are key to any great drama. Expect a mix of traditional and contemporary with a dystopian costume design inspired by The Hunger Games and The Handmaid’s Tale against a set evoking the traditional Swiss alpine environment.

Not only is William Tell full of great musical set pieces and arias whose brilliance and difficulty are legendary, it also contains some thrilling ensemble and chorus work. One of the challenges of staging William Tell is the difficulty of finding three tenors to hit the 19 high Cs. We have filled the tenor requirement with talented Australians and we’re lucky to have one of the best exponents of French operatic singing in Jean-François Lapointe as Tell.

Befitting an epic opera, this will be the largest production Victorian Opera has ever staged with the greatest international contingent, the biggest chorus (48 members) and the most costumes created for a single production. It will be epic in all senses of the word.

So, if there’s one operatic event you want to be there for in 2018, it’s William Tell. Its appearance on the Australian stage is a historical event in itself, but its message continues to resonate in our increasingly divided modern world: hope for a better world and the possibility of living in harmony.


Palais Theatre, St Kilda

Saturday 14 July 7:30pm
Tuesday 17 July 7:30pm
Thursday 19 July 7:30pm*

Running time is approximately 3 hours, plus interval.

Sung in French with English surtitles

Patrons' Pre-show Drinks Tuesday 17 July
Tactile Tour Thursday 19 July

*Audio Description available

Price reserve maps for this performance can be found on our Venue Information page.

How will we stage our apple shot?

Check out previous productions of William Tell from fellow members of Opera Europa.

Clockwise from left: Grand Théâtre de Genève’s 2015 Guillaume Tell, Amelia Scicolone (Jemmy) and Jean-François Lapointe (Guillaume Tell) © GTG / Magali Dougados; Opéra Royal de Wallonie-Liège’s 2013 Guillaume Tell; Peter Schöne (Tell), Judith Braun (Hedwige), Algirdas Drevinskas (Ruodi), Markus Jaursch (Melcthal) in Saarländischen Staatstheater's 2017 Guillaume Tell; The Royal Opera’s 2015 Guillaume Tell © ROH / Clive Barda

Cast & Crew

Composer Gioachino Rossini
Librettists V.J. Etienne de Jouy and H.L.F. Bis

Creative team

Conductor Richard Mills
Director Rodula Gaitanou
Set and Lighting Design Simon Corder
Costume Design Esther Marie Hayes


Guillaume Tell Jean-François Lapointe
Arnold Melcthal Carlos E. Bárcenas
Walter Furst Jeremy Kleeman
Melcthal Teddy Tahu Rhodes
Jemmy Alexandra Flood
Gesler Paolo Pecchioli
Rodolphe Paul Biencourt
Ruodi Timothy Reynolds
Leuthold Jerzy Kozlowski
Mathilde Gisela Stille
Hedwige Liane Keegan


Orchestra Victoria


Ticket Prices

Price Type Premium A-Reserve B-Reserve C-Reserve
Full Price $169 $120 $80 $35
Concession $159 $110 $70 $35
Senior $164 $115 $75 $35
30 Years & Under NA NA $35 $35
Group (6+) $159 $110 $70 $35
Arts Access NA NA $30 $30

For more information or phone bookings, contact Ticketmaster on 136 100. 

Season 2018 subscriptions are now closed. If you are a current subscriber and you need assistance, please call 1300 822 849 and a friendly staff member from Victorian Opera’s Subscription line will help you.

In association with

the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, University of Melbourne