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REVIEW: The Merry Widow

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 […]

The Merry Widow

The Art Deco movement inspired costume designer Jennifer Irwin’s work for Franz Lehar’s fizzy comic opera. “The Merry Widow has three acts,” she explained. “The first one is a cocktail party where there’s lots of waltzing so I went with long dresses and put everyone in long satin gowns that sat well within the black and […]

REVIEW: Madama Butterfly

Anyone who saw Moffat Oxenbould’s exquisite staging of Madama Butterfly should thoroughly expunge it from their mind if they hope to even find an entry point in Graeme Murphy’s diametrically opposite interpretation. Where Oxenbould employed minimalism, delicacy, and understatement, Murphy has fully exploited every visual effect to the max. There’s no warm-up either. In the […]

REVIEW: Turandot

Puccini died before finishing Turandot (it was completed by Franco Alfano), but there is nothing in the music that suggests the great composer was frail or past his best years. It’s a magnificent work, popular with aficionados and casual theatre-goers alike. The current production by Opera Australia has the right mix of creative virtue, tongue-in-cheek […]


Sydney audiences are to be treated to this tribute to the 50-year career of one of Australia’s great creative artists, choreographer Graeme Murphy, arguably one of the leading choreographers of his generation. Over the years, we have seen Murphy’s take on The Nutcracker, which was set in a Melbourne heatwave, the opposite of Tchaikovsky’s familiar […]

The Merry Widow

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 […]