Opera Queensland’s new work, The Sopranos, explores eras of expectations of women’s roles in the world of opera, which usually end with madness and/or an intense death.
With a majority-female cast and crew, and 10 of Opera Queensland’s leading voices performing some of opera’s best-known scenes, it is an inspiring work, that rejoices strong, powerful women taking down patriarchy and feels very current today.
Each piece merged into the next , in a dream like sequence with enchanting, emotive, spoken words narrating in the background, while the artists walked off stage and the next ones entered.
The use of video footage of the vocalists as they performed, projected onto the screen behind in arty cinematography added to the spectacular staging.
The costumes were stunning with structured dresses and suits that were intense, edgy, and looked fit for any couture runway.
Every performer leaving a portion of their ensemble behind on the inventive mannequins scattered across the stage helped to intertwine each act and meld the whole show together.
The arias were performed equally as beautifully as the ones they followed but I found the non-English pieces more dramatic and impactful.
Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s accompaniment was commanding and magnificent, again led by a fabulous female.
I loved them all but Eva Kong and Hayley Sugars were standouts for me.
Closing everything off was the “Humming Chorus” from Madame Butterfly which was understated but absolutely exquisite.
Overall, I found the night to be a wonderful, emotionally powerful celebration of ‘best of’ women’s operas from throughout the centuries and I would highly recommend to all.