Lilac Time

Lilac Time
Music by Franz Schubert, arranged by Heinrich Berte & G.H. Clutsam. Presented by Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Victoria. Directed by Robert Ray, musical direction by Geoffrey Urquhart. The Knowe, Clarkmont Road, Sassafras, Victoria. Saturdays and Sundays, 17 February - 3 March 2024.

Lilac Time is a charming and delightful operetta that is faithfully brought to life in this unique production. The story centres around Schubert (Edward Harcourt), his dedication to music and his infatuation with Lili Veit (Bridgette Kelsey). As a struggling composer he is surrounded by supportive friends and although his love for Lili is ultimately unrequited, the story maintains an upbeat and positive outlook.

This is reiterated through the arrangement of the music for flute (Peter Sheridan), piano. (Geoffrey Urquhart) and Violin (Selina Chong). The Palm Court trio provide a delicate and beautiful accompaniment to the song and dance which is performed with energy and gusto by the entire cast. Kelsey gives a very strong performance effectively exuding the innocence and naivety of her character and Harcourt embodies the part of Franz Schubert with disarming accuracy. Among the highlights of the performance is the song “I want to Carve your Name”, which Schubert especially composed to express his love for Lili. All the performers relish their parts, and this gives the production great vitality.

The staging of the show at The Knowe provides a truly magical and unique atmosphere. Upon entering the venue, the sense of being transported in time and space is overwhelming. The lush and vibrant garden appears enchanted and creates a perfect natural setting for the play. The characters emerge from the luxuriant foliage creating very alluring scenarios. The lavish and colourful detail of the costuming, combined with a simple but evocative set, reinforces the idyllic nature of the staging.

Lilac Time is designed to transport you to an altogether different era and provides cheerful and captivating entertainment.

Patricia Di Risio 

Photographer: Robin Halls

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