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29 October, 2019

Opera and Circus are strange bedfellows. In this performance, they were also strange lovers.

Opera and Circus are strange bedfellows indeed.

The concept of combining the two in this classic opera, performed by Queensland Opera and Circa, is an interesting idea – and it kind of worked.

Directed by Yaron Lifschitz and with Owen Willetts and Natalie Christie Peluso in the lead roles, the promise was of something breathtaking, to transport us to the dark depths of death where Orpheus pines for his dead wife Eurydice and yearns for her return to his life.

Willetts as Orpheus was outstanding, inhabiting grief and sharing it with his astonishing countertenor voice.

His expression through both voice and body is amazing. He left his co-star for dead in more ways than one.

Peluso needed a microphone – her voice faded into the background by comparison to Willetts.

She also struggled at times with pitch.

At the risk of offending, it felt like she was late to rehearsal or was a last-minute use of an understudy.

The circus was sloppy in places and while it certainly added to the performance and made it something fresh and different, the same could have been achieved with dance, excepting the aerial work, of course.

A number of the performers were exceptional, and the opera chorus was a real pleasure.

I liked the show, I didn’t love it and so I felt disappointed.

Maybe I am a stuffy old queen who is a traditionalist when it comes to the art of opera – part of the audience felt it was worth a standing ovation, others remained in their seat.

I know this was one performance and friends who were in the audience utterly enjoyed it for what it was.

My opera virgin date was enchanted and also utterly enjoyed the show.

Perhaps it’s just me but I wanted better.