Headshot of La Cieca

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Fairy-lit

It was dear Oscar Wilde, wasn’t it, who devised that early mot du jour “Good writers borrow; great writers steal,” an aphorism that has since been borrowed by many. La Cieca will leave it up to the reader to decide whether the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour production of La traviata ranks as a “good” or a “great” example of idea appropriation; meanwhile she will just sit back and marvel at Francesca Zambello‘s idea that setting Verdi’s opera on an comically oversized silver tea tray beneath an even more comically oversized chandelier might be considered “art” anywhere in the civilized world. (So shiny!)

Photo by Lisa Tomasetti

51 comments

  • wesherd says:

    Opera as garnish.
    Sydney has hardly been able to contain it’s excitement in the weeks leading up to “La Trattoria” ( http://operainsider.info/), while others cringe in disbelief.
    How could a better advised Mr. Handa have spent his $12,000,000 in a more useful way? A whole festival of lesser known operas maybe? Dream on.
    The vista of Sydney Harbour has been abused as much as Verdi’s opera, and who hasn’t already seen the fireworks there hasn’t really been trying.
    Clips of Miss Matthews are maybe not always the perfect drawcard (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHuXq7C0pb0)- her second cast Violetta, Miss Durkin, at least made it to the Met (jumping in for Miss Netrebko as Norina), but Opera Australia’s desperate attempt to “keep it local” (was it really necessary to fly in Miss Zambello for this?) is obsessive to the point of detriment. (OA’s 2013 Ring will be conducted by a local composer who has, until now, conducted only one (yes, one) Wagner performance, and that with a youth orchestra).
    Opera is NOT FOR EVERYBODY, waterside dining more so.
    And apropos TraTORia- my last visit to Australia coincided with Cecilia Bartoli’s first Australian tour, and as I was buying my ticket, I was “corrected” in my pronunciation by the the box-office lady- “it’s pronounced BarTOli” said she!
    I rest my case. It’s not a very serious country.

  • Ruxxy says:

    As Mae once said- better to be looked over than overlooked- and with the focus on an outdoor production Downunder- it is wonderful to see some of the various forces that make Parterre what it is are in fine form.

    I think DharmaBray manages to express a lot of the sentiment we locals feel about the recent state of the Oz opera without resorting to the sheer silliness of the contributions (if one can call them that) of Clita is it an ass or an ah sol, Del Toro? or Brooklyn ex convicts stomping their feet- to labelling a singers voice “frigging hideously unpleasant”.

    Brooklyn -- it is a bit hard to judge an opera singer’s voice entirely on clips on the Internet. You might find Emma Matthews’s voice not to your liking- but to some of us who have heard her in the opera theatre sing Lulu exceptionally well -- she’s not always bad.