Our 2017 season is dedicated to our late Founding Patron Richard Divall AO OBE
Melbourne Opera prides itself on its commitment to producing high quality, accessible performances for the benefit of audiences and performers.
With an ensemble of dedicated performers and administrators, we aim to provide opera of the highest standard to audiences of all ages and backgrounds at affordable prices.
Robert Ray's bright and busy, traditional production of Gilbert & Sullivan's HMS Pinafore is certainly shipshape. Ray is also a choreographer, and hornpipes and funny footwork abound, with dancing, prancing sailors and agile sisters, cousins and aunts all over the deck. Scarcely a moment goes by without someone striking an attitude or taking a twirl.
Amid opening night's hustle and bustle were some fine performances, especially Claire Lyon's lissome and lively Josephine, David Rogers-Smith's not-too-overboard Captain Corcoran, and David Gould's splendid Sir Joseph Porter.
The first work in Melbourne Opera’s 2017 season is a rollicking production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore. This is a comic opera written in 1878 which has since set the standard for the many forms of music theatre that have followed it. From the opening ensemble piece “We Sail the Ocean Blue” sung by a jaunty chorus of sailors, the audience were set for a most enjoyable performance.
Melbourne Opera stepped out of their comfort zone in presenting a G&S operetta. However, they employed one of the most experienced G&S directors and a number of music theatre professionals to make for an enjoyable production.
Robert Ray’s approach was traditional, but with some neat twists. He included a recently discovered duet for the Captain and Josephine, “Reflect My Child”, though it didn’t seem as musically inspired as the rest of the score.
MELBOURNE Opera have the heavily dramatic works of Wagner’s Lohengrin and Donizetti’s Roberto Devereux to come but a completely satisfying belly-laugh start to their season docked into the Athenaeum Theatre this week in the form of HMS Pinafore.
Occasional helpings of Gilbert and Sullivan’s unique brand of contagious merriment would rarely go unappreciated by its audience. Permission to cringe is always granted, as is admitting how much you really do fancy a tune or two.
Like any G&S worthy of the name, this is an entertainment full of toe-tapping tunes, based on a plot of total silliness. It also has the requisite bitingly sharp social commentary and more than a few opportunities to include local references, political quips and jibes at the “Establishment”. From class distinction to social climbing; from “baby farming” to promotions of talentless politicians “up the ladder”, W. S. Gilbert took aim at many targets of nineteenth century London which still ring very true today.
Let’s Give Three Cheers and One Cheer More for the hardy team at Melbourne Opera. This skillful, lovingly reverential production of H.M.S. Pinafore is the sparkling gem that Melbourne Gilbert and Sullivan lovers have been waiting years to see.
Such is the keen insight and finely honed talent of director/choreographer Robert Ray, the company should sign him up now to do a series of similar productions over the next few years. This is your grandmother’s H.M.S. Pinafore, gorgeously sung and played, and with the original comedy shining through in abundance.