From Australia to Trieste: “Mimma” Premieres at Teatro Verdi

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by InTrieste

This summer, the historic Teatro Verdi di Trieste will host a unique cultural event with the European premiere of “Mimma,” a musical by Australian composer Ron Siemiginowski. The performances, scheduled for July 30 and 31, follow successful runs in Australia and London’s Cadogan Hall and are set to be a highlight of Trieste’s vibrant cultural calendar.

“Mimma” tells the story of an Italian journalist who escapes her war-torn homeland for the safety of London during World War II. The narrative centers around her life in a jazz club owned by her uncle, where she forms a deep friendship with a singer named Sarah. This bond provides solace amidst the turmoil and persecution of the war years.

The Teatro Verdi production will feature a distinguished international cast, including Scottish actress and singer Kelly Mathieson as Mimma and English performer Louise Dearman as Sarah. Mathieson is best known for her portrayal of Christine Daaé in the West End production of “The Phantom of the Opera,” while Dearman has gained acclaim for her roles as both Glinda and Elphaba in “Wicked.”

Joining them are British stage and screen veteran Graham Bickley as Lorenzo, bass-baritone Ashley Riches as Aldo, soprano Elena Xanthoudakis as Ada, and actor Steven Serlin as Jacob. The production is conducted by Richard Balcombe, directed by Luke Fredericks, with scenography and costumes by Justin Nardella.

“Mimma” garnered attention in London with a charity performance at Cadogan Hall in February 2022, featuring the BBC Concert Orchestra under the patronage of The Prince’s Trust. The musical, which explores the lesser-known experiences of Italian immigrants in England during the war, resonated with contemporary themes of displacement and resilience.

Giuliano Polo, Superintendent of Teatro Verdi, emphasized the significance of this premiere in Trieste, a city with a rich multicultural heritage and historical ties to Anglo-American influences. “The new Trieste summer, strongly supported by the city administration, is evolving from high-level entertainment for international tourists to a cultural challenge that embraces experimentation and innovation,” Polo said. “Mimma is perfect in this regard, combining a nearly absolute novelty with a musical language that is a crossroads of different genres and influences.”

Trieste, known for its historical role as a cultural melting pot and a refuge for exiles, offers an ideal backdrop for “Mimma.” The production promises to evoke the atmosphere of 1930s and ’40s Europe through a blend of jazz, opera, and musical theater, set against the true story of Mimma, an Italian journalist who finds refuge and friendship in wartime London.

Cast Biographies:

Kelly Mathieson, starring as Mimma, has captivated audiences in the West End as Christine Daaé in “The Phantom of the Opera” for three years. She has also performed as a soloist at the Royal Albert Hall and Royal Concert Hall, and starred in the English premiere of “Dr Zhivago” at Cadogan Hall.

Louise Dearman, playing Sarah, is celebrated for her unique achievement of portraying both lead roles in “Wicked.” Her extensive credits include roles in “Evita,” “Guys and Dolls,” and “Grease.” She has performed at the BBC Proms and alongside Josh Groban at the O2 Arena.

Graham Bickley, as Lorenzo, brings over twenty-five years of West End experience, with standout roles in “Les Misérables,” “Miss Saigon,” and “Sunset Boulevard.” His television work includes the beloved role of Joey Boswell in the BBC sitcom “Bread.”

Ashley Riches, portraying Aldo, is a distinguished bass-baritone who has performed with the Royal Opera House and English National Opera, among others. His roles range from Morales in “Carmen” to Escamillo in “Carmen” and the Pirate King in “The Pirates of Penzance.”

Elena Xanthoudakis, as Ada, is a versatile soprano with a repertoire spanning from “The Magic Flute” to “Rigoletto.” She has won numerous international awards, including the “Maria Callas Grand Prix” and the “Mozart International Competition” in Salzburg.

Steven Serlin, who plays Jacob, has appeared in diverse roles in London’s theater scene, including “Elf the Musical,” “Hairspray,” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” His television credits include “Inspector Poirot” and “Casualty.”

Tickets range from 20 to 50 euros, with discounts available for combined purchases with other Teatro Verdi performances. For more information and ticket reservations, visit or contact the box office at

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