We were all excited to be there. You would have thought that we hadn’t been to an opera performance. Well, we hadn’t, at least not since March last year when the curtain was unceremoniously brought down on the 2020 Summer Season because of you know what. We were there for the opening of this year’s Summer Season on 5 January and saw an enjoyable performance of The Merry Widow with Julie Lea Goodwin delightful in the title role.
There were some odd things about the evening. For a start, masks were obligatory both outside and in the auditorium; strangely, when everyone is wearing them, they seem not so remarkable. There was no bar service before or in the intervals but we could purchase a plastic beaker of champagne from the coffee counter and take it out onto the terrace with its wonderful harbour views. Worse things could happen to a person.
Performances of The Merry Widow are now finished but from 2 February there will be Verdi’s Ernani, receiving possibly its first performances in Australia; it was an immediate success from its premiere in Venice in 1844 but gradually faded from the repertoire. This co-production with La Scala is directed by Sven-Eric Bechtolf with sumptuous designs. Ernani will be conducted by Renato Palumbo, the cast to include tenor Diego Torre and soprano Natalie Aroyan. It is a welcome opportunity to hear live a Verdi opera which few of us have experienced.
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