Monday, June 20, 2005


The 2nd in the Malthouse Theatre's winter season - a joint production with Chamber Made Opera - is Recital featuring Helen Noonan in what is described in the publicity as an "other-worldly experience".

As an opener I have to say that the new Artistic Director Michael Cantor has resuscitated this theatre that was slowly "fading to grey" under Aubrey Mellor. Now productions hold interest and as a subscriber I look forward to seeing what he has on offer this time. Under Mellor it became all too predictable and lacking any real excitement.

Now Recital.

Channeling all those great women who have gone before her, Helen Noonan plays the Ghost of Opera, the very Diva of Divas. Serving an eternal sentence in the purgatory of her own imagination, this Diva is the quintessence of the world's greatest opera singers'; or perhaps a lost and demented soul who simply thinks she is.

Her extraordinary story is told through a combination of original soundscape, well known arias, witty text, and almost balletic Callas-thenic gesture. Distinctions between art and life, fantasy and reality, tragedy and comedy become one as the Diva possesses the stage.

Arias featured in Recital include the most loved of the classical repertoire, including Mi Chiano Mimi from LA BOHEME by Puccini, Habanera from CARMEN by Bizet and Queen of the Night aria from THE MAGIC FLUTE by Mozart.

I didn't like it a lot. This is an almost entirely sung piece and much of what is being said(sung) was lost to me. There was apparently humour in this piece but it was mostly lost on me. Quality singing, great lighting and costume - but not a work that did a lot for me.

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