The Flying Dutchman - Photo by Jeff Busby
by M.A.F
Reviewed on Wed, 18/02/2015 - 16:01pm
M.A.F Total Reviews: 3
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Opera Review

Opening night of The Flying Dutchman and the Palais Theatre foyer is buzzing, brimming with people all here to see the new production by Victorian Opera; the pull that this production owns is something in itself to behold. The Flying Dutchman is all the spectacle, illusion and drama one would expect from the Opera, but also so much more. An adventure set on the high seas, and as such, The Palais Theatre down on the St Kilda foreshore, is a fitting venue, there‚??s something about the tired grandeur of this setting that added further magic.

From the moment the house lights dimmed, and the orchestra launched into the overture, it was clear that audiences where in for a magical night. Victorian Opera have this time teamed up with the Australian Youth Orchestra, and with the youngest member of this talented musical ensemble being just 14, you had to admire the way they took to this challenging score. With much bravado, the subtelties found in this rich score where presented with gusto throughout The Flying Dutchman and their musical prowess was most certainly on display and in fine form.

The 3D imaging created by Deakin Motion.lab is impressive, giving greater depth to the stage design and adding life to this performance; Kym Vincs should once again be commended for the finery created here, a seamless transition between performance and setting. It felt like Wagner‚??s original vision for The Flying Dutchman has finally, after some 172 Years, been realized. To modernize such a classic art form in this manner is to say the least a bold and measured choice, it speaks volumes of this company wanting to connect with new audiences and to further spark interest in a younger demographic that opera most often ignores.

There is a sense of passion that exudes from every cast member involved in this production, and it shows. Exceptional performances were given by all leads, particularly Lori Phillips, who took Senta‚??s Ballad in Act II soaring to new heights. Joined by internationally renowned baritone Oskar Hillebrandt, it is indeed a honor to have performers of this calibre perform here in Melbourne and goes some way in demonstrating our city as one which both loves and supports art of all form and function.

With run time clocking in at just under three hours, this performance moved quickly between each of the three acts, due mostly to the excellent direction, given here, by Roger Hodgman, who has done wonders with having modernizing this work. None of the emotional drama or for that matter humor found in this rich tapestry created by Wagner was lost.

It is perhaps difficult to put into words just how spell binding this production is, its opera that is relevant and easily accessible to all, Victorian Opera should be commended for launching their 10th season with such a remarkable experience.5 stars


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About this Review
Publisher: Melbourne Arts Fashion
Review Link:   Go there
What?: The Flying Dutchman
Where?: Palais Theatre
When?: February 14th - 19th
Producer: Victoria Opera
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