SOUTH PACIFIC RETURNS TO SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE

September 21, 2013

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The Lincoln Centre Theater’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s famous musical “South Pacific” has returned to the Joan Sutherland Theatre at the Sydney Opera House for a strictly limited second season and is sure to be as popular or even more so, as it was last year, playing to sell out crowds.

Teddy Tahu Rhodes is again starring as French Planter, Emile De Becque and Lisa McCune is also returning in her role as US Navy Nurse, Nellie Forbush.  Known to most for her TV work, Ms McCune charms the audience with her singing, especially with her performance of “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair”

The 34 piece orchestra makes Rodgers & Hammerstein’s well loved music and lyrics come alive.  The fact that I knew every tune and all the words made the production even more enjoyable.

Teddy Tahu Rhodes’ deep voice singing “Some Enchanted Evening” sets the mood as the story, involving the lives and loves of the US Navy sailors and nurses based in the Pacific during World War II, unfolds.

Gyton Grantley is also well known to audiences for his TV roles, especially as Carl Williams in Underbelly. As Luther Billis, he has one of the show highlights, singing “There Is Nothin’ Like A Dame” along with the Seabees.

Blake Bowden, the winner of the 2011 Rob Guest Endowment Award, provides another magic moment for the audience when, as Lieutenant Cable, he sings “Younger Than Springtime”.

This is the first Rodgers & Hammerstein production that Opera Australia has presented and after enjoying this one so much, I hope OA will bring Australian audiences more from this incredible American duo.

Sandra Tiltman 

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ALBERT HERRING BRINGS US LIFE IN A SMALL BRITISH TOWN

August 25, 2013

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Opera Australia’s presentation of Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring, the last of the five operas making up the 2013 winter season, will see the winter season draw to a close at the end of August.

This delightful revival is being performed in celebration of Britten’s 100th birthday, in the Joan Sutherland Theatre at Sydney Opera House.  The performance runs for approximately three hours, with two 20 minute intervals.

Since its première at Glyndebourne in 1947, Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring has become a classic.  The libretto, by Eric Crozier, was based on Guy de Maupassant’s short story Le rosier de Madame Husson, but was transposed across the Channel.

The witty libretto and expressive score paints a picture of life in a small British town.  When the girls of Loxford are deemed too immoral to take the title of the village’s virtuous May Queen, the brilliant suggestion is made that they should elect a May King instead.  The hapless grocer’s boy, Albert, is put forward as the perfect example of modesty and good morals.  The shy local lad is thrust into the spotlight, but virtue is easily spoiled when Albert Herring’s mischievous friends enter the picture.  With the aid of some rum and a hefty cash prize, Albert reveals that he isn’t quite the shy lad that everyone assumed him to be.

Keeping us amused were Helpmann award winning performers, Kanen Breen as shy Albert Herring and Jacqueline Dark as Lady Billows, plus Samuel Dundas as the mischievous Sid and Conal Coad playing the pompous Superintendent Budd.

Opera Australia’s Music Director Anthony Legge conducts this original production by John Cox.

Opera Australia presents Albert Herring until 30 August 2013.

Sandra Tiltman