Tag Archives: Jareth Norman


Once upon a time …

This production of THE MIKADO by the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Sydney , smoothly and niftily directed by Dean Sinclair, is in some ways presented as a Victorian pantomime as it opens and closes with a little girl falling asleep in her maid’s arms in the nursery and dreaming of the events in Titipu , the characters being figurines on the mantlepiece that come alive.

The complicated , twisted plot involves two young lovers, faked death, disguise and arranged marriages plus lots of social and political comment , greed , power and corruption , blending a dash of Aussie irreverence, Gilbertian British humour ,theatrical in-jokes and Sullivan’s glorious music. All gently poking fun at Mother England supposedly in an ‘exotic’ environment and celebrating the craze for the orient at the time it was written.

Close attention to both text and music was respectfully paid. Gilbert’s libretto has been wittily updated by Melvyn Morrow, particularly in Koko’s As some day it may happen – yes he’s got a little list – and the Mikado’s A more humane Mikado. Continue reading GILBERT AND SULLIVAN OPERA SYDNEY : THE MIKADO


This was presented in a very impressive semi staged ‘’ workshop “ version of the amazing new opera composed by Freddie Hill based on the classic children’s book by Charles Kingsley.  The cast sat in rows of chairs onstage when not performing.

THE WATER BABIES tells the story of Tom, a persecuted chimney sweep who slips under the water.  The story comments on the harshness of Victorian society, child labour and the ethics of the time.

Musically it is contemporary is style and multifaceted. It includes elements of jazz, Victorian music hall, Sondheim, perhaps Sullivan and the atonality of Schoenberg. Some of it ripples and bubbles, other parts include lyrical ballads and exciting ensemble work. Hill’s wonderful score was energetically conducted by Rowen Fox, who also also had a minor acting role as Ellie’s tutor, and finely played by an excellent small orchestra gathered on the stage. Continue reading FREDDIE HILL’S NEW OPERA ‘THE WATER BABIES’ @ THE SEYMOUR CENTRE