Mazda Opera in The Domain,
Saturday February 1st, 2014.
What’s not to like about opera? Everyday heroes and heroines, love triangles, sibling rivalry, parent-child conflict, murder and intrigue. Pile on gorgeous costumes, dazzling singing and lush melodies and surely those who argue that opera is not for everyone need to re-examine their views.
Even more so when some of the best of Opera Australia’s talent gather to unfurl ribbons of operatic silk under the summer-lit skies of the Sydney’s Domain. Sopranos Lorina Gore and Daria Masiero, mezzo-soprano Jacqueline Dark, tenor Bradley Daley and baritone Shane Lowrencev with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra conducted by Brian Castles-Onion with the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, Christopher Lawrence entertained an appreciative audience of thousands last Saturday night.
It seems unfair to describe this event as opera for ‘the masses’. Certainly the venue, the CCTV and amplification meant that many hundreds more could be accommodated than in the considerably smaller confines of any opera theatre. But the term also implies that this event is ‘mass-produced’ and therefore lower in quality and cost than the real thing – and nothing could be further from the truth.
What the audience heard on Saturday was no compromise with Opera Australia drawing on some of the very best talent and music that the company has to offer. Tunes from Carmen (opening February 3rd at the Opera House), overtures and orchestral interludes, bubbly coloratura, favourite duets and sheer good fun were aplenty.
After three demanding pyrotechnic arias, accomplished with aplomb, Lorina Gore aka Violetta, Olympia and Cunegonde, seemed like she had only just warmed up; Shane Lowrencev a dashing Escamillo in the Toreador Song from Carmen was at his menacing best as Scarpia in the Te Deum from Tosca; Jacqueline Dark’s Azucena from Il Tovatore was a tour de force – and these were just snapshots.
It was indeed an evening for everyone.