Dear gentle and cultured reader, you may recall a post I wrote a few months ago called ‘No longer an Opera Virgin’ where I went to my first Opera performance. This was Don Giovanni and was sung in English rather than Italian. And although I really enjoyed it I felt that I should reserve judgement on whether I am really an Opera Lover until I went to a full blown production sung in Italian.
Well Saturday was it!
I met up with the girlfriends that I go to the ballet with and off we went to the Opera Australia performance of Turandot at the State Theatre.
The storyline for this opera revolves around a beautiful but callous and cold hearted Chinese Princess who plays mind games with her suitors. They have to guess three riddles and when they fail then it’s off with their head. Presumably this serves to lift the mental average of the male population but you’d have to agree it’s a tad drastic.
Enter the hero Calaf, who takes one look at her, falls in love (presumably with her face rather than her personality) and immediately signs up for her quiz show. He wins and because she is such a poor loser, he offers her a deal whereby if she can guess his name in 24 hours he’ll forfiet his life (what kind of a dumb offer is that?). So our Royal Ray of Sunshine grabs the little slave girl who’s in love with Calaf and tortures her to get his name. The Slave Girl kills herself in case she weakens. I’m mentally screaming “he’s not worth it girl”. Then the Hero tells the Princess his name, kisses her and she is smitten by love and we head off to the big romantic finale.
Having given you that facetious synopsis I must also tell you that it was a wonderful production. The music and singing were sensational, the sets and costumes were gorgeous and the overall vibe was totally fantastic. The production was directed by Graeme Murphy who is one of Australia’s best choreographers. And his use of the stage and the large body of chorus members was a piece of visual art.
Our seats were in the circle which was absolutely perfect as the surtitles were at eye level and it was easy to glance at them to keep track of what was going on without them being distracting. So whilst, unlike Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, I wasn’t in danger of peeing my pants, I did enjoy it enormously and will look forward to the opportunity of seeing another Opera. Not only have I well and truly lost my Opera Virginity, but it looks like I’m well on the way to becoming an Opera Lover.
And yes, it finished with the fat lady singing!