Duels, death and dark forces

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“The Magic Flute”...an easy opera for the littlies to understand.
“The Magic Flute”…an easy opera for the littlies to understand.
AS Sydney turns steamy, Opera Australia’s collective thoughts turn to fun.

Well, fun opera-style, with a few duels, the death of a consumptive heroine and some weird magic from the dark forces – in short, a season of popular favourites.

OA sums up the repertoire as “spectacular adventures and seaside comedies, heartbreaking tragedies, fleeting romances and a femme fatale.”

First up, and running until January 21, is Gale Edwards’ production of “La Boheme”, re-set into Germany during the “wild hedonism, creative richness and poverty” of the Weimar Republic, while somehow retaining all the excitement of bohemian Paris.

Then, throughout summer until March 26, there’s “The Magic Flute”, a “for-all-the-family” production in Julie Taymor’s Metropolitan Opera version that features giant puppets including a nine-metre serpent, spectacular costumes, and a moving set.

I’ve seen this show and it’s an easy opera for the littlies to understand, a kind of “Lion King” meets “The Queen of the Night”.

A touch of “La Dolce Vita” and 1950s bikinis can be expected when Simon Phillips stages the first professional production in Australia of Rossini’s “The Turk in Italy”. It’s a totally ridiculous plot, full of disguises, adultery and mayhem and runs from January 22 to February 12.

Who doesn’t like “Carmen”? OA always bills it as the most popular opera in the world and this production by Francesco Zambello is no less seductive than most, with a historical design that takes us back to an era when women wore corsets and men rode horses. Milijana Nikolic and Nancy Fabriola Herrera share the part of the untameable gypsy, Carmen. It’s on over February and March.

The highlight and finale of the summer season will be OA’s first co-production with the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, of Tchaikovsky’s romantic tragedy “Eugene Onegin”, directed by Kasper Holten and running from February 29 to March 28. It’s a tale of unrequited love, arrogance, broken friendship and a duel – there won’t be a dry eye in the house.

Opera Australia’s summer season, at Sydney Opera House, bookings and programs to opera.org.au


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