Western Suburbs Weekly - - Weeklylife - Tanya MacNaughton

EX­PAND­ING au­di­ences by find­ing new ap­peal is an im­por­tant fo­cus for Opera Con­fer­ence, a part­ner­ship of Aus­tralian opera com­pa­nies com­pris­ing Opera Aus­tralia, WA Opera, Opera Queens­land and State Opera of SA.

Its latest cre­ative ini­tia­tive be­gan three years ago and be­gan pro­duc­tion last month in Mel­bourne with the film­ing of con­tem­po­rary comedic opera The Di­vorce, a four-part se­ries sched­uled to air on ABC in De­cem­ber.

WA Opera gen­eral man­ager Carolyn Chard said Opera Aus­tralia artis­tic di­rec­tor Lyn­don Ter­racini was the driv­ing force be­hind the pro­ject star­ring Lisa McCune, Ma­rina Prior, Hugh Sheri­dan and Kate Miller-Hei­dke.

“Lyn­don is a cre­ative thinker and he started talk­ing about at­tract­ing a dif­fer­ent au­di­ence for it,” Chard said.

“Opera can be 3½ hours in the theatre; you have to get a babysit­ter and it’s a big in­vest­ment in time.

“Some­how out of all this came the idea of putting it on tele­vi­sion. It’s al­most a soap opera and will be in four parts, so it’s not a mas­sive in­vest­ment in time.”

Chard said the cast in­cluded an amaz­ing list of names, not nec­es­sar­ily those you would ex­pect to find in an opera.

“But it has the same uni­ver­sal themes opera ex­plores, with love, pas­sion, re­gret, greed, which res­onate with an au­di­ence,” she said.

“It’s lit­er­ally about a cou­ple who are get­ting a di­vorce and are throw­ing a di­vorce party.

“The ti­tle inspires cu­rios­ity and is one of those uni­ver­sal themes that cap­ture ev­ery­one in some way or another.”

WA Opera gen­eral man­ager Carolyn Chard.

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