Open­ing opera to wider ap­peal

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - SHOWS -

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.

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