Opera Australia has announced that young Australian singer Abigail Adriano will make her mainstage lead debut after landing the coveted role of Kim in Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed new Australian production of Boublil and Schönberg’s award winning musical Miss Saigon, premiering at the Sydney Opera House in August 2023.
Miss Saigon is one of the most successful musicals in history, having won 70 major theatre awards, including three Tony Awards and two Olivier Awards and been performed in 15 different languages, in over 32 countries and 350 cities.
Of the hundreds of auditioning hopefuls, 18yr old Sydney–born new–comer Abigail was the clear standout.
Singing from a young age, Abigail performed in Tim Minchin’s Matilda the Musical when she was eleven, and then went on to perform on The Voice Kids Australia and in the Netflix/ABC television series The Unlisted. In order to pursue her dream of performing on the mainstage, Abigail has put a pause on her double degree (Bachelor of Law and Arts).
“Performing has been an absolute dream of mine ever since I picked up a microphone at family karaoke. When I found out that I was playing Kim, I told my parents that dreams come first so my studies will need to wait.” said Abigail.
Opera Australia CEO Fiona Allan said “We’re delighted to have found such an accomplished young performer to play the lead role of Kim – and right here in Sydney. It was clear from seeing her audition that Abi is a star in the making.
“Developing and giving opportunities to young talent is an extremely important part of Opera Australia’s contribution to cultural life and being able to give Abi this opportunity to make her main–stage lead debut, and in her hometown, is thrilling.” said Ms Allan.
Speaking to his experience of auditions in his most recent trip to Australia, Cameron Mackintosh said “Abi moved the whole room to tears. I knew immediately that she was extra special as I did when I first auditioned Lea Salonga, Eva Noblezada, Joanna Ampil and Emily Bautista who were all about the same age.”
“All of these young ladies shared a similar quality of resilience yet innocence, beautiful young voices yet full of depth, strength and maturity that makes Kim’s tragic but powerful love story and sacrifice completely truthful.”
“So, it is with great pleasure that we have found our Australian Kim, with Abi now joining a long legacy of some of the most talented performers of this generation who’ve played the role around the world.” said Mackintosh
The musical set during the Vietnam War, tells the heart–wrenching story of a young Vietnamese woman named Kim who falls in love with an American G.I. named Chris. Separated when Saigon falls, Kim embarks on a journey to find Chris and reunite with him and their son.
The role of Kim has proven to be a career–defining role in musical theatre, launching many performers to stardom and earning them critical acclaim. Lea Salonga who originated the role of Kim at age 17, was the first Asian actress to win a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical. In subsequent productions, Eva Noblezada received a Tony nomination for her performance on Broadway where she is currently starring in Hadestown, and Emily Bautista who also received critical acclaim in the role.
For Abigail, following in the footsteps of these distinguished performers, holds strong personal significance.
“Growing up I would binge–watch clips online of the iconic Lea Salonga as Kim and I’ve watched the 25th anniversary Miss Saigon film with Eva multiple times. I snot–level–cry every single time.
“As a kid you’re drawn to characters you can see yourself in. Kim was that role. Not only because she is Asian like me, but because in the face of it all she never ever backs down.
“Her story of survival, love and war is a scary and deep reality. I’ve grown up with close friends and family who’ve struggled through similar experiences just to be here today and I think that’s why her perseverance is so special for many people.
“It means the world for me to not only get to play such a strong female role but also to follow in the footsteps of incredible women who’ve played this role before me, and that I have looked up to my whole life,” said Abigail.
A full cast announcement of the 41 other cast members joining Abigail in bringing this epic production to life is anticipated to be made later in April.
Miss Saigon is presented by Opera Australia and Cameron Mackintosh and is supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.
Tickets for Miss Saigon are currently on sale at www.miss–saigon.com.au.
Photo credit: Daniel Boud