OperaBox is a dynamic performance ensemble based in Western Australia dedicated to producing opera and developing talent.

After enchanting audiences world-wide since its premiere at the Paris Opera Comique, OperaBox presents Massenet’s most popular opera, Manon in three performances at the brand new Marist Auditorium theatre at Newman College, Churchlands and a Concert Performance in Darlington Hall. From 1-7th September, Perth will see a fully-staged original production with orchestra, chorus and a cast and creative team made up of local Perth talent alongside artists from USA and Sydney.


Vibrant and full of passion, Manon tells the story of Manon Lescaut, an impressionable young woman who is torn between love and her desire for the lavish Parisian high society. Based on a French novel that inspired both Massenet and Puccini's operas, Massenet’s opera focuses on the emotional journey of the heroine as she struggles with her conflicting desires and her choices.


This exciting new production will be conducted by young international conductor Christopher Dragon, returning to Perth from his second season as Associate Conductor of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra (USA). As Christopher’s 5th opera with OperaBox, he is well known to OperaBox audiences and also as a conductor of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO). Sydney-based opera director Joseph Restubog will make his WA debut with Manon and will be setting the action in the 1920s.  Restubog said “Manon, ultimately, is an agent of her own destiny in this opera. It will be interesting to explore the parallels between her and a more modern woman’s pursuit of happiness.”


The fantastic cast showcases operatic talent from both Perth and Sydney. Tenor Gaetano Bonfante (Opera Australia) stars as Des Grieux alongside Scottish-Australian soprano Jenna Robertson who returns to Perth to perform the title role of Manon. Baritone Sitiveni Talei (Opera Australia, West Australian Opera) performs the role of Brétigny alongside Kristin Bowtell as Lescaut, Michael Heap as Comte des Grieux, Christina The, Esther Counsel and Katherine Goyder. This opera will be performed in the original language of French with English surtitles.



“Perth opera company OperaBox…with Ariadne auf Naxos…have come up with a real tour de force.”

William Yeoman, The West Australian


“An edgy, hilarious production of Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos…established OperaBox as a company that was serious about presenting operatic rarities at a professional level.”

Rosalind Appleby, Australian Book Review





1st, 5th, 7th September 2017, 7.30pm

Marist Auditorium, Newman College, 216 Empire Avenue, Churchlands, WA


3rd September 2017, 7.30pm

Concert Performance at Darlington Hall, Darlington, WA




Conductor – Christopher Dragon

Director – Joseph Restubog

Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master – Kate Oliver

Advisor – Jolanta Nagajek

Set Designer – Laura Heffernan

Costume Designer – Stephanie Cullingford

Lighting Designer – Beth Ewell

Repetiteur – George Carolin-Unkovich

French Coach – Stella Sulak

Graphic Designer – Blair Parkinson




Manon – Jenna Robertson

Des Grieux – Gaetano Bonfante

Lescaut – Kristin Bowtell

Comte des Grieux – Michael Heap

Brétigny – Sitiveni Talei

Guillot – Simon Wood

Pousette – Christina Thé

Javotte – Esther Counsel

Rosette – Katherine Goyder

Chorus – Grace Feltoe, Dinali David, Belinda Cox, Estee Todres, Claudia Sosin, Ry Charleson, Jason Kroll, Grant O’Neil, Jim Rhoads




Producer – Jenna Robertson

Associate Producer – Thomas Friberg

Assistant Producer – Christie Yip

Production Manager – Sean Hartley

Stage Manager – Sean Hartley

Orchestra Manager – Freya Swarbrick

Publicity Manager – Andrew Shugg

Surtitle Operator – Allison Fyfe

Head of Wardrobe – Stephanie Cullingford

Lighting Operator – Beth Ewell






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