Reflecting Art Deco France, Opera Australia’s The Merry Widow is a witty and scandalous tale of recent widow Hanna (Danielle de Niese) and the suitors who want to marry her to keep her inherited fortune in the province. First premiered in 1905 Vienna, the operetta has not lost its comedic lustre.
“It is an operetta with a Great Gatsby feel to it. Yes, it’ll be funny, but it’ll be beautiful with wonderful singers, actors and dancers. It’s thrilling that this new production involves such wonderful performers and big stars with spirited choreography [and direction] by the wonderfully talented Graeme Murphy,” said Opera Australia Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini.
Amid Hanna’s many suitors is a reluctant one, Count Danilo, played by Alexander Lewis who, like de Niese, is an Australian with international credentials. Lewis has performed extensively around the world, including with the Komische Oper Berlin, the New York Philharmonic’s inaugural Biennial Festival, the Manchester Music Festival and numerous Australian performances, including The Merry Widow in Melbourne in 2016.
Opera Australia brings Maxim’s of Paris to Sydney with a themed three-course pre-show dinner, including a Kir Royale cocktail in anticipation of the bubbly songs and dances.
To hear the story behind the opera, 45 minutes before selected performances a member of Opera Australia’s artistic team will share insights into the opera in an informal talk.
Opening just in time to recover from the height of the silly season, this operetta promises to be an amusing and sparkly way to welcome the New Year with panache. And possibly humming some tunes on the way home.
Until Feb 3. Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney. $46-$299+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.sydneyoperahouse.com or Ph: (02) 9318 8220
*Note: Julie Lea Goodwin plays Hanna in matinee shows.
By Olga Azar.