THE SOPRANOS AND THE POWER OF THE WOMAN’S VOICE
Opera Queensland’s newest production The Sopranos is a momentous celebration of women in opera, and of their strengths and struggles. Over two and a half magnificent hours, we were taken through an array of roles for women, sung by Australia’s leading sopranos and mezzo-sopranos, set against the backdrop of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jessica Gethin.
Love, sacrifice, courage, childbirth, desire, loss, grief, determination – these are the themes of the strong characters we encounter on our journey through the music of Puccini, Beethoven, Poulenc, Saint-Saëns, Verdi, Bizet, Tchaikovsky, Purcell, Mazzoli, Polias, and Glanville-Hicks. The heavier themes of the first act are offset by the colourful selection of arias of the second act, performed by the star female performers of Australian opera. Building towards the quintessential classics, such as “Deh, Perdona” from Nabucco (with the participation of the ever-velvety baritone of José Carbó), “Queen of the Night” aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and the final scene from Eugene Onegin, the entire cast is brought together for the finale in the “Humming Chorus” from Madama Butterfly.
Always impressive is Opera Queensland’s creative use of staging, and The Sopranos is no exception. Having the singers perform on the backdrop of female mannequins creates the impression of the spirits of women perpetuating through time, each bringing her story, and then leaving her mark, as the characters leave something of themselves on each of the mannequins. By the end of the performance, the stage is filled with the remnants of powerful female figures brought to life through the magic of opera.
After such an inspiring start to the 2022 season, I cannot wait to see the rest of this year’s Opera Queensland program.
Photo by David Kelly.