Graeme Murphy’s production of The Merry Widow is a triumph in every respect.
Supported by a fabulous cast, and with Murphy’s direction and choreography, this operetta is a delight to listen to and to watch.
Murphy sets the operetta 20 years later than the original (1905), in the art deco Paris of the 1920s, giving Jennifer Irwin ample opportunity to splash out with her costume designs, and Michael Scott-Mitchell the opportunity to go to town with his sets.
Julie Lea Goodwin and Alexander Lewis face off again after their starring roles in West Side Story, and they are a perfect match.
As Hanna Glavari, the widow in question, Goodwin dances and sings her way through the operetta’s plotline: the citizens of Pontevedro, a bankrupt Balkan state, conspire to retain the widow’s wealth in their country by getting her to marry a local man, in this case Count Danilovich, with whom she has history.
On the couple’s way to a happy ending are several dazzling dances, including the waiters’ frolics and the Slavonic-inspired folk dances reminiscent of the Russian.
The ensemble work is excellent, and it is really difficult to fault with this production that kept me smiling all the way through.
Until Jan 16. Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney. $40-$369+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.sydneyoperahouse.com