The opening to another darkly dramatic production for Opera Australia, we seem to have had a fair few of them in recent times. It’s the first time the company has produced Verdi’s Attila (the Hun) which was brought in from Teatro alla Scala, Milan. Lesser known that many of Verdi’s other masterpieces, Attila is filled with memorable arias and chorus numbers, the overture and opening scene probably best known and most recognised.
Some background into the story… The Huns are still a mystery to historians. They were nomadic people, most likely from somewhere between the eastern edge of the Altai Mountains and Caspian Sea, roughly where you’ll now find modern Kazakhstan. Many artistic impressions of them are as Asians, others show red headed fair skinned Aryan people similar to the oldest records of Genghis Khan. In the 5th Century they were described as barbaric and uncivilised yet, compared to the corrupt Roman Empire, they appear to be extremely loyal to their family members, well organised and lethal in accelerating the fall of the Roman Empire. Continue reading ATTILA @ JOAN SUTHERLAND THEATRE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE→
Audiences are in for a unique experience in Opera Australia’s production of GHOST SONATA. Dressed warm and casual, head for the Opera Centre in Elizabeth Street and then down the side alley to the company’s Scenery Workshop. Inside the performance space is the most extraordinary set. A heavily raked stage with a large glass panel of similar size suspended at a perpendicular angle. Designer Emma Kingsbury and Lighting designer John Rayment have been given great freedom to build a set inspired by the original production where illusions fade in and out, trapdoors open in the floor which are seen as windows of a house with people looking out when viewed in the looking glass. There’s a sunny garden under the table and funeral shroud in the corner for anyone who fancies knocking themselves off.
Director Greg Eldridge made a brilliant job of using the set for maximum effect, a particularly challenging job with the audience sitting so close. Performers were in period costume and, all but two, with ghostly white faces.
The story of GHOST SONATA is based on a play by Swedish playwright August Strindberg who was nationally renowned for his highly controversial and intelligent works. He was a prolific writer through the late 1800s and Ghost Sonata was inspired by Beethoven’s Piano Sonata no 17, later known as ‘The Tempest’. Strindberg was often writing based on his real life experiences. Ghost Sonata was based around the “hell” that can be achieved within the family home through abuse, neglect and lack of communication.Continue reading GHOST SONATA : AUGUST STRINDBERG @ HIS DARKEST→
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