Tag Archives: Keiren Brandt-Sawdy

CHAMBER POT OPERA RETURNS TO SYDNEY AT SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

Following seasons in Adelaide, Edinburgh and St Petersburg, Russia, CHAMBER POT OPERA returns to Sydney to play in Australia’s foremost Opera venue, the Sydney Opera House for its final season, commencing 11 April 2019. Tickets go on sale on Friday 22 February.

CHAMBER POT OPERA tells the story of three women who meet for the first time in a public bathroom. One is in an abusive relationship, another is terrified that she has come on too strong on a date, and the third has been promoted through the glass ceiling to land her dream job. Together they sing of shared histories, traumas and fantasies using a catalogue of popular music from the operas of Puccini, Mozart and Bizet.

A uniquely intimate production, CHAMBER POT OPERA will be performed for only 42 audience members at a time in the elegant Playhouse Ladies Bathroom at the Sydney Opera House. The three performers will utilise the entirety of the splendid and intimate space from the bathroom sinks and decorative mirrors to the hand dryers and toilet stalls to weave together a story in a setting where women can safely express themselves.

Originally performed in November 2016, this new season of CHAMBER POT OPERA Is due in no small part to the Sydney Opera House’s commitment to creating new operas for contemporary audiences as well as its commitment to fostering new, young, and exciting artistic talent.

CHAMBER POT OPERA features a talented team of singers and creatives from NIDA and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Created by director Clemence Williams (Banging Denmark), musical director Keiren Brandt-Sawdy (Mansfield Park) and dramaturg Thomas De Angelis (Unfinished Works) and with a cast including Sally Alrich-Smythe (The Phantom of the Opera), Britt Lewis (Rent) and Jessica Westcott (La Boheme), this production brings together Australia’s next generation of opera performers and creators.

Director and co-creator Clemence Williams says that this season “is the culmination of three years of touring the world and bringing our message of the timelessness and beauty of opera to the masses, one bathroom at a time!” The idea for the show came from Williams’ own experience being a performer confined to the ‘bitches, witches and breeches’ roles in opera.

Dramaturg and co-creator Thomas De Angelis says, “It seemed like the right time to bring Chamber Pot Opera home, and particularly to stage it in Australia’s most recognisable cultural institution, the Sydney Opera House. We’ve made some changes to the show and added some new material – and crucially, we’ve tried to keep the ticket prices as low as possible to maximise the accessibility of the show.”

CHAMBER POT OPERA is the only opera written and designed specifically for publicly accessible women’s bathrooms. It’s sure to delight opera novices and aficionados alike.

“Chamber Pot Opera makes opera accessible, celebrates the power women can have when they choose to support each other, and forces audiences to rethink their opinions of performance spaces.” – Broadway World

“Don’t be surprised to see these singers on great operatic stages in the future. In the meantime, go along and see this great little show — it’s a gem.” – Adelaide Advertiser

“For those who love Opera you must see this, for those who are novices, you also must see this.” – Stage Whispers

CHAMBER POT OPERA
Presented by Bontom Productions and Sydney Opera House
Created by Keiren Brandt-Sawdy, Thomas De Angelis and Clemence Williams
Directed by Clemence Williams
Musical Direction by Keiren Brandt-Sawdy
Dramaturgy by Thomas De Angelis
With Sally Alrich-Smythe, Britt Lewis and Jessica Westcott

DATES 
11 April – 28 April (7pm and 8:30pm) at the  Playhouse Ladies Bathroom at the Sydney Opera House

For more about Chamber Pot Opera, visit https://www.sydneyoperahouse.com/events/whats-on/opera/2019/chamber-pot-opera.html
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APOLLO OPERA COLLECTIVE: TO PRESENT HANDEL’S ARIODANTE

The Apollo Opera Collective is an exciting new opera company presenting Baroque works with Australia’s best young voices.

Led by Artistic Director Keiren Brandt Sawdy, Assistant Conductor of Pinchgut Opera and a graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s conducting program, AOC aims to provide a much needed platform for talented young artists to develop the expertise to launch their careers. The company is entirely driven by the artists themselves, who work collaboratively on all the different aspects of staging the opera. Continue reading APOLLO OPERA COLLECTIVE: TO PRESENT HANDEL’S ARIODANTE

OPERANTICS PRESENT STRAUSS’ ‘DIE FLEDERMAUS’ @ INDEPENDENT THEATRE

 

Johann Strauss delicious operetta with its catchy tunes premiered on 5 April 1874 at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna and has been part of the regular repertoire ever since. Opera Australia often perform it on New Year’s Eve as a special gala and/or include it as part of their regular season.

The plot hinges on a glittering masked ball, given by a Russian prince, that brings together all the main characters in various disguises. The three-act journey that leads from boudoir to ballroom to jail provides ample opportunities for farce and humour, but also provides for genuine human emotion and what can be a surprisingly realistic view of urban life. There are lovers in disguise, unfaithful wives and husbands and would be stage struck maids…

Operantics have transposed and updated it to Manhattan New York City in 1929 with a witty, scintillating new translation of the libretto that audiences love.

The plot is basically as follows : Gabriel von Eisenstein is evading prison to attend Prince Orlofsky’s ball, with the help of his friend Dr Falke who secretly bears him a grudge over a misjudged practical joke from years before –   hence the title of the show.

Meanwhile his wife Rosalinde has to reluctantly fend off the advances of a persistent suitor, dashing singing teacher Alfred, and she follows Gabriel to the ball in disguise, planning to catch him out flirting. Adele their maid is scheming too, attending the ball also in disguise in the hopes of impressing a Broadway producer…..

The show was presented as it it was a late 1920’s movie. There was a deft use of projections ( on the back panel) to further enhance the art–deco like set.

The dialogue (recitative) was spoken in English.  The arias /ensemble pieces were sung in the original German with translations as surtitles on the screen –this took a little bit of getting used to but worked ok.

Eliza Grundy’s choreography for the cramped small stage was most effective.

The show was without a live orchestra however the score was presented in a piano version , magnificently played by Nathaniel Kong and precisely, delightfully conducted by elegant, energetic Keiren Brandt-Sawdy.

Vocally the opera was splendid with some magnificent performances, especially from the four leads. The chorus had a great time and were impressive too.

As wealthy man-about-town Gabriel von Eisenstein, Michael Handy was a caddish, rather sleazy man who dithers at various points. He was in splendid voice giving a very polished performance. His duets with Rosalinde at the ball and she was masked in disguise were glorious.

His unhappy wife Rosalinde was terrifically sung by Jessica Harper who was in thrilling voice. She has great fun teasing Alfred and Gabriel. She suffered from self-deceiving hauteur and could be bitchy in her interactions with Adele yet positively charming to everyone else. Was she really in love with Alfred ? Or Gabriel ? Her show stopping aria in disguise, as a countess at the ball, when she sings the “Czardas”, her set piece in the second act , (“Klänge der Heimat”/”Songs of My Homeland”) had the audience at her feet in raptures and brought the house down .

As Adele, Amy Balales is superb. In her black short sexy chichi French maid outfit in the first half she is stunning – and such glorious long legs. And then she is in a long green gown for when she is in disguise at the ball. Her ‘laughing song’ (“Mein Herr Marquis”/”My lord marquis) at the ball was a showstopper and she absolutely wowed us and Frank with “Spiel’ ich die Unschuld vom Lande”/”If I play the innocent country girl “ displaying her ravishing thespian talents.

Dashing tall , dark and handsome yet rather louche Alfred is gloriously sung by Spencer Darby.

Tristan Entwhistle as Dr Falke has the vocal presence ensuring all eyes and ears are drawn to him as he masterminds his revenge.

Prince Orlofsky (should that be Princess?!)- was played with charisma by cross dressing Laura Griffin as a White Russian plutocrat who suffers from ennui. The Prince  presides over a sort of multi-sexual post-Mardi Gras  party, rendered furtive by everyone’s adoption of assumed identities.

Matthew Avery delightfully sang the part of Frank.

Even though there is an exuberant full cast champagne chorus finale  we do get the feeling that the Eisenstein’s rocky marriage will more than likely disintegrate, and that  Adele will follow her dream and become a stage star…

This Operantics production was a lot of fun and featured some great music.  DIE FLEDERMAUS played the Independent Theatre  between the 20th and 23rd April.

 

OPERANTICS PRESENTS LA SONNAMBULA BY BELLINI @ THE INDEPENDENT THEATRE NORTH SYDNEY

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This was another extremely impressive production by Operantics, dazzlingly sung.

LA SONNAMBULA started began life in Paris in 1827 as a ballet, at the height of a craze for stage works featuring somnambulism. Bellini’s opera was first performed in 1831. Various stars who have performed in the demanding roles include Pasta, Malibran, Callas, Pavarotti and Sutherland. More recently there was the controversial production in 2009 at the Met in New York with French soprano Natalie Dessay. Opera Australia’s most recent production was in 2010 with Emma Matthews.

LA SONNAMBULA is one of the bel canto operas, those early nineteenth-century Romantic works by Bellini, Rossini, Donizetti and their counterparts that emphasise virtuoso and exquisite vocalism as distinct from concentrating on symphonic musical development or ‘’ naturalistic “ drama. Continue reading OPERANTICS PRESENTS LA SONNAMBULA BY BELLINI @ THE INDEPENDENT THEATRE NORTH SYDNEY