Lakme in Your Closet…No, Not Really
by Melissa Wimbish
The story of Lakme is like the French version of Lucia di Lammermoor except the leading lady is a little less cray and there’s some really cool influence of the East up in there. Opera Australia’s latest production boasts “clever set design” and “glorious singing” according to reviewer Tom Pillans. Here’s the Operagasm review rundown:
The one that didn’t flop: “Delibes composed more than a dozen operas in the late 19th century, most of them forgotten now, as well as several ballets, the most enduring of which is Coppelia. Lakme, written in 1883, is an outstanding example of French bel canto and foreshadows the vogue in Europe at that time for all things Eastern.”
“I do TV, but opera is cool, too!”: “Director Roger Hodgman, best known for The Secret Life of Us and Blue Heelers, brought a sure hand to this performance. He is no stranger to opera having worked for Opera Queensland, Victorian Opera, New Zealand Opera and he created a notabled version of Rigoletto for Oz Opera in 2000.”
Proving that the coloratura is what the people really want: “In this production, English-born Matthews easily cemented her reputation as one of Australia’s finest performers. Her versatile coloratura in the title role of Lakme made the opera’s most outstanding works shine, first in a duet with mezzo Dominica Matthews, as Lakme’s handmaiden Mallika, in Act I’s Flower Song and then in Act II with the more famous and demanding solo Bell Song, in which she soared to a lingering high E (she is capable of reaching top F).”
With a name like that, you have a duty to be badass: “Aldo di Toro, as Gerald, the British soldier who stumbles upon the temple and falls for Lakme, was in fine form. His is a strong, clear tenor and the audience quickly warmed to him. His ability to to change key and vocal intensity without the slightest hint of hesitation was striking.”
Lakme runs through September 21st at the Sydney Opera House.