OA’s A Little Night Music is a knockout, with Sigrid Thornton and Anthony Warlow leading a stellar cast in Stephen Sondheim’s glorious work. Based on Bergman’s film, Smiles of a Summer Night, and reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, the opera explores sexual love and fidelity as it is played out among several individuals whose lives intersect in uppercrust Swedish society in the late 19th century. Thornton plays Désirée Armfeldt, a mature actress about to discard one lover in favour of Fredrik (Anthony Warlow), a former paramour whom she still loves. Both lovers are married, and this complicates the scenario when their wives become involved in the romantic farce. The drama erupts when they are all thrown together at the estate of Désirée’s mother, and under the extended mid-summer twilight, the tensions are resolved and peace, love and harmony are restored. Although not a singer, Thornton gives us a deeply moving and original interpretation of the work’s signature tune Send in the clowns, and Warlow is predictably magnificent as the aging lawyer. Staging and costumes are visually stunning, and the orchestra under the baton of Stuart Maunder gives full play to the subtlety of Sondheim’s score. Not to be missed.
Until Jul 15, Sydney Opera House, $67-165, 9318 8200, opera-australia.org.au