Gran­deur in op­er­atic saga

Ham­burg’s finest are set to in­spire Aus­tralian au­di­ences, writes Martin Silk

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - SHOWS -

N opera about fam­ily in­fight­ing, be­trayal, trick­ery, adul­tery and in­cest will pro­vide cre­ative in­spi­ra­tion for Aus­tralian au­di­ences as part of The Ham­burg Sea­son.

Af­ter a 30-year hia­tus the Ham­burg Philharmonic Or­ches­tra, State Opera and Bal­let are per­form­ing to­gether again, for the first time in Aus­tralia and with a renowned Aussie at the helm.

The Queens­land Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre and the State Gov­ern­ment are spon­sor­ing the 333-year-old Ger­man com­pany’s ex­clu­sive Bris­bane shows, dubbed The Ham­burg Sea­son.

Ham­burg con­duc­tor and Aus­tralian mu­sic icon Si­mone Young says it’s im­por­tant peo­ple have cre­ative in­spi­ra­tion – par­tic­u­larly from clas­si­cal mu­sic, which shouldn’t be ‘‘just lumped into high-end en­ter­tain­ment’’.

Young’s com­pany is per­form­ing Wag­ner’s 1854 opera Das Rhein­gold, based on a fifth cen­tury Norse saga about the gods. Young says it’s ‘‘an un­happy fam­ily sce­nario’’ that ex­plores fam­ily in­fight­ing, be­trayal, trick­ery, adul­tery and in­cest.

‘‘It’s about the strengths and weak­nesses of peo­ple and our re­la­tion­ships,’’ she says.

Young de­scribes the sound of an en­tire Euro­pean com­pany play­ing the 2½-hour saga as ‘‘rav­ish­ingly beau­ti­ful’’.

‘‘Its gran­deur . . . it’s im­pos­ing, at times exquisitely beau­ti­ful, very sen­sual and it has a very im­me­di­ate im­pact.

Si­mone Young (cen­tre) and the Ham­burg Philharmonic Or­ches­tra The sound of 125 peo­ple go­ing at it is pretty im­pres­sive,’’ she says.

Aus­tralian au­di­ences have heard Wag­ner’s works only a few times.

‘‘This is an or­ches­tra that’s been play­ing Wag­ner since he wrote it,’’ Young says.

‘‘Ev­ery­body knows about it (the per­for­mance), ev­ery­body’s talk­ing about it and peo­ple are com­ing from all over Aus­tralia to see it.’’

The Hun­gar­i­ans will also stage per­for­mances of John Neumeier’s bal­lets Ni­jin­sky and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with dancers di­rected by an­other Aussie, Si­mon He­witt.

The mu­sic ensem­ble’s only per­for­mance of Mahler’s Sym­phony No.2 - Res­ur­rec­tion to­day will be broad­cast free to screens around Bris­bane and in six re­gional cen­tres.

‘‘I’m a Sydney girl orig­i­nally and would’ve loved to take my or­ches­tra there but Bris­bane came up with the idea and it’s ex­clu­sive,’’ Young says.

‘‘It’s a very clever move be­cause it makes Bris­bane a re­ally strong cen­tre for cul­tural tourism.

‘‘So good one, Queens­land.’’

plays QPAC, in Bris­bane, from Au­gust 23 to Septem­ber 5. Visit for de­tails.

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