Bub­bly fun set in the city of love

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Weeekly Life - WA Opera's His Majesty's Theatre July 15 to 22 www.tick­etek.com.au

THERE was one de­gree of sep­a­ra­tion be­tween Perth opera singers Taryn Fiebig and Alexan­der Lewis when they first stepped into the WA Opera re­hearsal room for The­mer­ry­widow and that was Lewis’s mother, Pa­tri­cia Price.

“I’m work­ing with my singing teacher’s son,” Syd­ney-based Fiebig said.

“Pa­tri­cia (WAAPA head of vo­cal stud­ies and opera) used to teach me, so I feel like I’ve known Al for­ever. I’m feel­ing very at home.”

Di­rected by Graeme Mur­phy, The Mer­ry­widow marks Fiebig’s de­but with WA Opera, while Lewis, who now lives in Mel­bourne fol­low­ing time in New York, re­turns af­ter his per­for­mance in the com­pany’s 2014 sea­son of Themag­icflute.

Mur­phy has cho­sen to set his new pro­duc­tion, sung in English, in 1920s Paris and Lewis said this made for “cham­pagne, bub­bly fun” sur­rounded by an Art Deco de­sign and glam­orous cos­tumes.

“It’s all about the glo­ri­ous com­plex­i­ties of love with some of the most beau­ti­ful tunes,” he said.

“It’s filled with yearn­ing, de­sire and sen­su­al­ity.”

The opera fol­lows the story of for­mer farm girl and now young, rich widow Hanna and her old flame Danilo, whose wealthy fam­ily once for­bade his match with Hanna.

Church­lands SHS and UWA grad­u­ate Fiebig said both their char­ac­ters, Hanna and Danilo, were cheeky, de­ter­mined peo­ple with lots of pride.

“Danilo was born priv­i­leged and from early on de­cided that wasn’t fair or right; he’s ba­si­cally a so­cial­ist,” Lewis said.

“He has a his­tory of giv­ing money to refuges and peo­ple on the street. He truly dis­likes ev­ery­thing he’s been born in to and that’s ex­ag­ger­ated by the fact it was his fam­ily that pre­vented the two of them from mar­ry­ing be­cause she was be­neath his sta­tion.”

WA Opera has part­nered with Telethon for The­mer­ry­widow sea­son. Both are cel­e­brat­ing a 50-year mile­stone in 2017 and part-pro­ceeds from ticket sales will go to the chil­dren’s char­ity.

Fiebig and Lewis said the opera com­pany-char­ity part­ner­ship was highly ap­pro­pri­ate in the con­text of The­mer­ry­widow.

“I think Danilo would love that,” Fiebig said. WHAT: Widow WHERE: WHEN: TICK­ETS:

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