Egyp­tian oasis comes to life in Coolan­gatta

Tweed Daily News - - PULSE - Daniel Mcken­zie daniel.mcken­zie@tweed­dai­

THE rise and fall of king­doms through a royal love tri­an­gle will play out in op­er­atic won­der when Aus­tralia’s new pro­duc­tion of Grif­fith Opera on the Beach, Aida, hits the Coolan­gatta dunes.

An am­bi­tious trans­for­ma­tion of the Coolan­gatta fore­shore into an Egyp­tian oasis is in full swing, with two 7.6m-high pharaohs be­ing low­ered in to­day to place the fi­nal touches on a visual won­der more than three years in the mak­ing.

Carved out of large blocks of poly­styrene in Syd­ney, it took two spe­cial­ist sculp­tors and a team of welders, car­pen­ters and scenic artists 240 hours to make the im­pres­sive stat­ues, which were trans­ported to the Gold Coast in a 40ft ship­ping con­tainer.

Ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Louisa Robert­son said the 11-day trans­for­ma­tion of the beach lo­ca­tion se­lected back in 2014 would be a sight to be­hold.

“It’s a ca­sual event and the aim is to make opera more ac­ces­si­ble. There’s no bet­ter way to do that than on the beach, and it will be a very ex­cit­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” Robert­son said.

Open­ing on September 21, Aida will come alive on a pur­pose-built sea­side stage, with a huge cast and orches­tra and fea­tur­ing fire­works of the vo­cal and ex­plod­ing kind.

Per­formed in Ital­ian to Verdi’s fa­mous mu­sic, a host of Aus­tralia’s finest singers, in­clud­ing Natalie Aroyan, Michael Honey­man, Mil­i­jana Nikolic and David Parkin, will per­form along­side the Opera Aus­tralia Com­mu­nity Choir.

The pro­duc­tion will also have a unique lo­cal twist, with Gold Coast surf life­savers set to be part of the show.

While set­ting up on a beach lo­ca­tion presents var­i­ous chal­lenges, with sand, wind and tides a fac­tor, Robert­son said unique out­door as­pects would pro­vide view­ers with an ex­pe­ri­ence un­like any other.

“If you’re not an opera fan, you’ll still get a lot out of it as the en­vi­ron­ment makes the show,” she said.

“It’s not just about the opera. You can grab a drink and some food and sit on the beach with amaz­ing views

and en­joy fire­works, fan­tas­tic singing, danc­ing, and a great story as well.

“It al­lows you to be re­ally im­mersed in the pro­duc­tion. You can also dig your toes into the sand, which you can’t do at the opera in a the­atre.”

While pre­mium re­serve tick­ets have al­ready sold out for all six per­for­mances, a range of A, B, and C Re­serve tick­ets are still avail­able.


EGYP­TIAN NIGHTS: Grif­fith Opera on the Beach, Aida, will trans­form the Coolan­gatta fore­shore into an Egyp­tian oasis.

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