More known for directing movies, Bruce Beresford’s production of Opera Australia’s Of Mice and Men is truly cinematic. It’s not hard to understand Beresford’s attraction to this particular opera. Written for the San Francisco Opera in the 1960s and set in California in the depression era some thirty years earlier, much of the opera could serve as the score for a Hollywood movie. The libretto (which Carlyle also wrote) is based on John Steinbeck’s novella by the same name. Lenny, the mentally impaired farm hand, who accidentally kills everything he comes in contact with: from mice to men, is played by the lumbering, American born, Grammy Award-winning tenor Anthony Dean Griffey, who was born to play this role. His sidekick, and guardian George is played by a booming Barry Ryan whose voice compliments Griffey perfectly. Beresford tilts his cowboy hat to the big screen in the lead up to the final scene as he projects a film of Lenny being pursued by a posse through the Salinas scrub. Steinbeck’s classic story, complimented by Floyd’s cinematic score and fleshed out by Beresford’s directorial skills makes this a truly dramatic night out at the opera.
Until Aug 11, Sydney Opera House, $95-280, 9318 8200, opera-australia.org.au