The world’s most famous arias are ringing out from the Joan Sutherland Theatre again as Opera Australia’s enormously popular Great Opera Hits concert series returns to Australia’s true home of opera.
Described as the ‘best of opera without the boring bits’, this 90 minute show is jam-packed with tunes that most people will be familiar with and not realise they are masterpieces that are famous around the world, not just the soundtrack from a commercial.
This is a very exciting production, directed by Matthew Barclay, fresh and vibrant, updated to now and musically and vocally fabulous.
Mozart’s opera DON GIOVANNI is one of the most popular and frequently performed operas in the world. Here, it is a marvellous showcase for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s terrific vocal and orchestral students . It is slightly abridged to clarify the complicated plot, sung in the original Italian , with surtitles above the stage providing a snappy, witty translation. The pacing of the production was brisk and the narrative clear. Under the direction of maestro Dr Stephen Mould the orchestra was in impressive, glowing form.
This production is transposed to 2018 – the characters here become A list celebrities and there is much use of mobile phones, paparazzi and so on. There are witty visual jokes (for example, the photo shoot at interval, the huge bucket of KFC and the way the Conservatorium is shown in the set designs as Don Giovanni’s castle), and musical ones (the quote from Mozart’s own The Marriage of Figaro in Act 2 for instance).
Costumes by Isabella Andoronos are terrific, with some stunning dresses for Donna Anna and Donna Elvira in particular, while their assistants wear severely cut black and white suits ( and have fun picking out the Batman, Superman and Cleopatra costumes for example in the masked ball in Act 2 ). The staging is set as if it backstage at a film lot or theatre with revolving panels , various clothes racks etc .The statue of the Commendatore is one of several Oscar like statues on plinths.