The Red Apple / Trouble in Tahiti

The Red Apple / Trouble in Tahiti
By Jacques Offenbach / Leonard Bernstein. Lyric Opera of Melbourne. Chapel off Chapel. Director: Nathan Gilkes. Conductor: Pat Miller. April 21 – 29, 2012.

Lyric Opera of Melbourne continues to introduce rarely heard operas to the Melbourne public and from what I saw the public responded well.

The Red Apple is an Offenbach operetta with a new translation by Pat Miller. In spite of the flimsy plot Kate Amos, Michael Lapina and Bruce Raggatt gave convincing performances. Michael was in thrilling form, and Kate and Bruce, a G&S specialist, were also strong performers.

Trouble in Tahiti is a Leonard Bernstein opera about a post-war couple struggling to relate to each other. Caroline Vercoe and Matthew Thomas were very convincing as the edgy couple though Matthew was uncomfortable in the upper register. Caroline’s rich voice was a delight.

Director Nathan Gilkes made very good use of a triowhich was an integral part of the production,constantly in the background commenting on the action. However, though their voices blended well, they weren’t always heard over the small orchestra, so words were missed, which didn’t happen in The Red Apple.

The cluttered set was interesting and the direction, particularly the use of the trio, was very effective. The orchestra did well.

Well worth a look for those who enjoy good singing and would enjoy something a little different.

Graham Ford

Photographer: Matto Lucas

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