Hugh Halliday began his professional life dancing as member of SADLERS WELLS OPERA BALLET at the LONDON COLISEUM.
In 1974 he joined ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA as a staff director and during the subsequent seven years worked on over sixty opera productions for that company. He also directed for OPERA NORTH, was Artistic Director of FULHAM MUSIC THEATRE in London and directed for GRANADA TELEVISION.
He first came to Australia in 1980 to stage the ENGLISH NATIONAL OPERA production of Rossini’s LE COMTE ORY for the VICTORIA STATE OPERA and since emigrating in 1982, he has established himself as one of this country’s busiest and most versatile directors.
For the VICTORIA STATE OPERA his engagements included productions of IOLANTHE, THE PEARLFISHERS, DIE FLEDERMAUS, THE MAGIC FLUTE, LA BOHEME, IL RE PASTORE, RUDDIGORE and LA BELLE HELENE. He directed the joint VSO/AUCKLAND OPERA/IMG production of LA BOHEME in 1989, which featured Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as Mimi.
He was associate director for the international arena production of CARMEN for its performances in Melbourne and then subsequently in Zurich, Berlin and Munich and he directed the epic stadium production of AIDA for MICHAEL EDGLEY INTERNATIONAL in Singapore, Perth and Auckland.
Between 1995 and 2000 Hugh Halliday‘s engagements included LA BOHEME for the STATE OPERA OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA, LA TRAVIATA for OPERA NEW ZEALAND, the world premiere production of BUNGA MAWAR and a production of CARMEN and also of DIE FLEDERMAUS and THE STUDENT PRINCE all for SINGAPORE LYRIC OPERA, further performances of the stadium AIDA in Brisbane, THE BARBER OF SEVILLE for both WEST AUSTRALIAN OPERA and OPERA QUEENSLAND, FAUST for CANTERBURY OPERA in Christchurch, THE ABDUCTION FROM SERAGLIO for EASTERN METROPOLITAN OPERA in Melbourne and a series of opera and concerts as part of the events of the SYDNEY 2000 OLYMPICS.
Other past engagements include THE TALES OF HOFFMANN for CANTERBURY OPERA in New Zealand, a new production of CARMEN for SINGAPORE LYRIC OPERA, LA SERVA PADRONA for CAPELLA AMADEUS ORCHESTRA in Djakarta, a number of consecutive years of OPERA IN THE PARK for the CITY OF STONNINGTON in Melbourne, AN AUSTRALIAN NIGHT AT THE PROMS at the SYDNEY SUPERDOME for CREATIVE ENTERTAINMENT & ART GROUP and for the opening events of the BENALLA PERFORMING ARTS & CULTURAL CENTRE, a production of LA TRAVIATA at DE BORTOLI WINERY for GRAND OPERA AUSTRALIA, and directing a number of the MSO POPS concerts series for the MELBOURNE SYMPHONY ORHCESTRA.
In 2004 he began an ongoing association with MELBOURNE OPERA and held the position of Director Of Productions until 2013, initially staging COSI FAN TUTTE and subsequently directing DON GIOVANNI, DIE FLEDERMAUS, the triple-bill of Mozart’s DER SCHAUSPIELDIREKTOR, Salieri’s PRIMA LA MUSICA, POI LE PAROLE and Rimsky-Korsakov’s MOZART & SALIERI, SUOR ANGELICA, THE ITALIAN GIRL IN ALGIERS, THE BARBER OF SEVILLE, THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, I PURITANI, LA TRAVIATA, TOSCA, I PAGLIACCI & CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA, THE MERRY WIDOW, FAUST, CARMEN and LA BOHEME.
Hugh Halliday’s engagements during 2013 and 2014 included FIDELIO and THE PEARLFISHERS, again for MELBOURNE OPERA, and the revival of the Melbourne season of FALSTAFF for OPERA AUSTRALIA.
For OPERA AUSTRALIA during 2015 he directed the VICTORIAN SCHOOLS COMPANY season of HANSEL & GRETEL and returned to revive the company’s Melbourne season mainstage production of MADAM BUTTERFLY. He was engaged to direct the AUSTRALIAN POPS ORCHESTRA‘s New Year’s Eve concerts and the SALVATION ARMY‘s CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR for which he was engaged again, during 2016, for the fifth successive year.
For OPERA AUSTRALIA during 2016 his engagements included THE BARBER OF SEVILLE and the VICTORIAN SCHOOLS COMPANY production entitled EL KID.
During 2017 he was again engaged by OPERA AUSTRALIA to direct seasons of LA BOHEME, LA TRAVIATA, MADAM BUTTERFLY, the company’s OPERA ON THE BEACH production of AIDA and its touring production of THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO. He also directed the company’s concert productions of THAIS and PARSIFAL, featuring Jonas Kaufman in the title role.
His engagements during 2018 included OPERA AUSTRALIA‘s Sydney seasons of RIGOLETTO and DON QUICHOTTE, and its Melbourne seasons of TOSCA and LA BOHEME.
2019 and 2020 saw him direct the company’s OPERA IN THE BOWL and OPERA FOR THE PEOPLE concerts in Melbourne and was to include a new touring production of THE BARBER OF SEVILLE, for AUSTRALIAN INTERNATIONAL PRODUCTIONS, for China.
2021 includes Dennis Vaughan’s THE TELLTALE HEART for STATE OPERA OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA.
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