In my experience, when you go to a Shakespeare with fellow Shakespeare lovers or a Chekhov with a Chekhov lover there is something that happens beyond shared engagement. Reverence is too trite a word, communal too overused, immersion too visceral. The word that springs to my mind is quietude. There’s stillness where understanding meets art. The 1995 New York Times review of the first performance of HARVEY MILK the Opera, noted the cheers of the audience. In Sydney’s Town Hall this evening there was no such reaction. Like the aforementioned classics, everyone in the hall knew the story and why it needs testament.
HARVEY MILK is a 3 act opera, music by Steward Wallace and lyrics by Michael Korie. The man of the title was a San Francisco hippy camera shop owner turned politician. On his third attempt, after a change in the laws to allow district elections, Milk became a San Francisco City-County Supervisor on January 9, 1978. This was a milestone for what was then the LGBT community. One of his fellow supervisors was Dan White. Continue reading Left Bauer Productions presents Harvey Milk: The Opera in Concert @ Sydney Town Hall→
It has been said that there are two emotions, love and fear. The creative pairing of Puccini and Graeme Murphy is successful in vividly outlining such feelings in the current revival of Murphy’s stunning production.
Conductor Christian Badea presents a strong realisation of Puccini’s atmospheric score. Inspired by this music, Murphy uses intersecting movement prescribed for sub-sections of the ensemble as well as challenging unisons at times such as human waves depicting swirling emotions and troubled minds.
The setting, Peking’s Imperial Palace, is evoked with excellent composite sets and shifting textures as designed by Kristian Fredrikson. His detailed costuming and props dazzle, as does the choreography which asks for these to be manipulated during poses so as to hide or reveal the characters’ vulnerabilities or suggest general unrest. Continue reading Opera Australia’s Turandot @ The Dame Joan→
Puccini’s early twentieth century opera MADAMA BUTTERFLY offers soloists and audience much of what they relish in the genre. The main characters are complex, with savage twists and turns in their emotional journeys. The music serves the drama well as the compact storyline hurtles towards its terrible conclusion.
The design and dramatic realisation of this Opera Australia production makes for a spellbinding night of theatre. The commitment of the cast to convey timeless feelings, struggles and the unique beauty of Puccini’s score ensures this example of opera is always fresh and relevant for 2015.
Conductor Anthony Legge brings the score to life with clarity and focus in moments of conversation, atmosphere or large arias alike. The brass entries with fragments of the US national anthem penetrate hauntingly.
Musically this new version of Mozart’s ‘Don Giovanni’ is superb and thrilling with spectacularly brilliant performances from the wonderful orchestra under Maestro Jonathan Darlington (featuring the fortepiano played by Siro Battaglin for the recitative) and the glorious cast led by the great Teddy Tahu-Rhodes.
Sir David McVicar’s direction is deft and assured. This is a bleak, dark production, with quite a cold ‘feel’ .There is a swooping black curtain hiding most of the set when we enter. The huge set resembles a bombed/ruined palace with rubble, and there are pieces of marble everywhere.