New Opera Explores Death, Suicide, and Anger
by Melissa Wimbish
Is this spooky enough for you? Check out the reviews on the brand new opera, Into the Shimmer running through October 15th at the State Theatre Center of Western Australia. Crikey!
Debbie Downer in the desert – extreme downer: David Pye and Lee Buddle’s new opera Into the Shimmer Heat explores dark themes of death, suicide and anger in the piercing light of the desert. The mute central character Nina is grieving over the death of her father and mother and as she hallucinates she meets spirit world figures who convince her that it’s time to return to the world and resume her life. Nina’s teenage angst is portrayed by contemporary dancer Sofie Burgoyne, whose artful body language “sings” emotion as powerfully as that of the singers.
As the Radiohead song goes, “Anyone can play guitar…” Not true: With this many creative elements at play there is the risk of overload. There were moments: the clunky use of electric guitar in the ensemble, Nina’s random appearance operating her own puppet and the cheesy swinging ensemble piece In the Oasis. But these were mostly overshadowed by the quality of the cast.
Opera for now!: This is an opera of its time and place. It uses centuries-old techniques to tell a contemporary Australian story that both entertains and interrogates; a landmark achievement on WA’s cultural landscape.