IT’S the time of year when we usually speak to former Canberra soprano Lorina Gore about “Opera in the Domain”, the annual big free concert staged under the stars by Opera Australia for the general public.
Gore, you see, will be starring in the event of the third time running, but this time there is a difference—instead of staging a full opera with a chorus it will be a kind of a “Best of the Best” selection of opera hits sung by Opera Australia favourites, sopranos Gore and Daria Masiero, mezzo-soprano Jacqueline Dark, tenor Bradley Daley and baritone Shane Lowrencev.
A spokeswoman from Opera Australia told Citynews, “Lots of people know opera arias from movies, TV ads and ‘greatest hits’ type recordings, rather than from complete operas. Because the Domain event is for this wider range of people – including extended families – OA has tailored it more to suit them. Having a concert of highlights means people are more likely to know one or more of the arias. And maybe even sing along!”
Obligingly, Gore agrees, arguing, “whilst it’s lovely to see a full opera, it’s difficult to produce a full production without the set on a non-operatic stage, and try to capture the sparkle and magic one feels when attending a show at the Opera House. The mixed aria concert allows the audience to hear the ‘best bits’ of several operas, and this format is incredibly popular with audiences”.
As well, she says, here is also quite a lot of “Carmen” included in the program this year, which serves as a preview for the full production of the same opera which will open at the Opera House just a couple of days after the free concert.
I’m speaking by phone to Gore from her home in Kangaroo Valley. Although the distances in Australia are daunting for a professional singer, a mixture of motoring and flying take her all around the country for her engagements and she says she is building up a lot of frequent flyer points to stand in good stead for a planned overseas study trip later in 2014.
Her son Joshua turned five on Christmas Day, not long after she finished playing one of the Rhine maidens in Opera Australia production of “The Ring” cycle which he describes as “such a mammoth undertaking… something I’ve never experienced before.”
As well, she has an engagement in Auckland and Wellington to sing the lead role of Violetta in “La Traviata.” She’s formed in NZ once before, Playing in “Don Pasquale” over 17 cities.
Joshua starts school this year so it’s not ideal, and he can’t follow his mother around on tour, but as she says her husband Jonathan Steele, a former member of the Resonants choir in Canberra, “is a wonderful husband who basically supports me and loves looking after Joshua.” For the first time they’ll have to stay home in Kangaroo Valley.
Back to the Domain concert. “It’s so lovely to be involved again in this concert, which is always such an exciting night. I absolutely love performing at the Opera House, but the buzz that comes from a huge outdoor audience is quite something else.”
Although the Opera Australia chorus will be otherwise occupied that night, performing in “The Magic Flute,” at the Opera House, Gore guarantees a night of virtuoso singing. She gets to sing three of the most difficult soprano arias in the repertoire, taken from “La Traviata”, “The Tales of Hoffmann” and Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide,” an aria she sang with the CSO in 2013.
Opera Australia’s Mazda “Opera in the Domain,” The Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, 8pm- approximately 10pm this Saturday February 1. If the weather is inclement, announcements and notifications will be made on the Opera Australia website (opera.org.au) and radio stations after 5pm. Bookings not needed.
The full program is below:
“Overture” Carmen (Bizet) – Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra
“Habanera” Carmen (Bizet) – Jacqueline Dark
“Parle moi de ma mère” Carmen (Bizet) – Daria Masiero and Bradley Daley
“Toreador Song” Carmen (Bizet) – Shane Lowrencev
“Flower Song” Carmen (Bizet) – Bradley Daley
“Intermezzo” Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni) – Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra
“Condotta ell’era in ceppi” Il Trovatore (Verdi) – Jacqueline Dark
“Te Deum” Tosca (Puccini) – Shane Lowrencev
“Ah, fors’ è lui…Follie! Follie!…Sempre libera” La traviata (Verdi) – Lorina Gore
“Overture” William Tell (Rossini) – Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra
“Les oiseaux dans la charmille” The Tales of Hoffman (Offenbach) – Lorina Gore
“Un bel di” Madama Butterfly (Puccini) – Daria Masiero
“Tutti fior” Madama Butterfly (Puccini) – Daria Masiero and Jacqueline Dark
“Overture” La Forza del destino (Verdi) – Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra
“Pace, pace mio Dio” La Forza del destino (Verdi) – Daria Masiero
“Au fond due temple saint” The Pearlfishers (Bizet) – Bradley Daley and Shane Lowrencev
“Glitter and be gay” Candide (Bernstein) – Lorina Gore
“Nessun dorma” Turandot (Puccini) – Bradley Daley and Tutti
Presenter Christopher Lawrence
Conductor Brian Castles-Onion