Matthew Barclay is the Revival Director for the 2005 Francesca Zambello production in this rare staging of Prokofiev’s fantastical opera, which entrances the eyes and ears from the moment it bursts onto the stage in a blaze of colour through to its fairytale finale.
Drawing on Commedia dell’arte, Prokofiev playfully satirises rival composers and, indeed, the audience itself, in the chorus groups representing Tragedians, Comedians and Lyricists, among others.
In the Prologue, these theatrical “factions” argue about what kind of show to put on, and what results is a wonderfully chaotic and captivating narrative that defies categorisation. Perhaps “Fractured Fairytale” would be the best description.
It is not surprising that the English libretto is so witty: English playwright Tom Stoppard translated it from the French.
The cast is uniformly wonderful, but special mention must be made of David Parkin as the King of Clubs, Kanen Breen as Truffaldino, Gennadi Dubinski as Chelio and, of course, he with the honey tenor voice, Rosario La Spina, as the melancholic Prince.
Adrian Tamburini is terrifyingly funny as the monstrous cook of fairytales, wielding her big knife as she chases her victims, while Antoinette Halloran is as witchy as can be as Fata Morgana.
George Tsypin’s sets bring the fairytale to life, while Tania Noginova’s costumes are nothing short of spectacular.
Finally, there is Prokofiev’s captivating score, which provides the musical foundation for the whole phantasmagorical tale of a prince in search of – and finding – love.
A wonderful production from OA and not to be missed! (ID)
Until Jul 9. Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House. $44-$299. Tickets & info: opera.org.au