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Old tale, new twist

Opera Australia’s season goes from strength to strength. Forgive the cynic in me, but it seems it has at last got the message that Melbourne wants and deserves equality with Sydney and is fed up with the same old pap.

I Capuleti e i Montecchi is a case in point. This rarely seen Bellini work, which is stoutly promoted as not being a reworking of Romeo and Juliet but which, in fact, is a reworking of Romeo and Juliet, provides a wonderful night of opera such as Melbourne has long waited to see. It is moving, lyrical, excellently staged and wonderfully sung.

Romeo is a “pants” role admirably filled by Catherine Carby as a delicate foil to Hye Seoung Kwon’s Juliet.

Not surprisingly, as it is a co-production with Opera Ireland and Opera North (UK) and directed by Ireland’s Orpha Phelan (where was the Aussie input?), the scene has shifted from Venice to a war-torn Ireland – or any other place you care to name where there is deep-seated religious and civil strife.

A memorable night – at last!

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