Opening opera to wider appeal
JUDGING by the memories of Lyndon Terracini when he was doing the same sort of thing, the young opera singers who bring Don Giovanni to the Gold Coast tonight are probably having a ball.
Terracini might be Opera Australia artistic director now, but in the winter of 1974 he was a young baritone on a South Australian, month-long tour of Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. He sang the role of Malatesta.
The troupe went from Ceduna in Western Australia to Bordertown in South Australia, gathering audiences out of the back bar of the pub in successive towns and performing every night.
‘‘In Ceduna in a place called Streaky Bay, I went out and met this fellow on a jetty and he was catching white pointer sharks off the jetty using a 44 gallon drum as a float,’’ Terracini says.
‘‘We went back to his place and saw the jaws of all the sharks he had caught.’’
Terracini invited the fisherman to the opera and he duly turned up at the local venue. ‘‘He had a terrific time,’’ Terracini says. Terracini maintains that elitist ‘‘misinformation’’ surrounds the art of opera, and he aims to open it up to wider enjoyment.
Oz Opera, as Opera Australia’s touring arm, takes the art form on tour and plays in everything from woolsheds to circus tents as well as regional venues.
Tonight, it brings Mozart’s Don Giovanni to The Arts Centre Gold Coast. And Oz Opera’s Don Giovanni, to use Terracini’s words, ‘‘is in English so that everyone can understand the words (and) it’s shortened so that nobody will get bored’’.
‘‘And we have some of our best young performers in the lead roles so we make sure the standard is one that we can be really proud of,’’ he says.
Director Michael Gow has set Don Giovanni in the 1950s and given the design a Mafia edge. Gow also wrote the English libretto after he and Terracini were dissatisfied with existing English libretti.
Don Giovanni’s Oz Opera.
The opera’s original 1787 libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte was in Italian.
The Oz Opera cast includes Emma Castelli and Annabelle Chaffey sharing the role of Donna Anna, Samuel Dundas and Luke Gabberdy (Don Giovanni) and Eddie Muliaumaseali’i as Il Commendatore.
– ELIZABETH FORTESCUE
Don Giovanni plays The Arts Centre Gold Coast tonight at 7.30pm.
A scene from