On Tuesday night this week I was invited to see a spectacular musical, The King and I by Opera Australia. A familiar lead cast lit up the stage, Lisa McCune as Anna and Teddy Tahu Rhodes as the King of Siam. I watched South Pacific last year with Lisa and Teddy as soloists and there is a good chemistry between these two which works on the big stage.
I have never seen the movie or read the original book, so its always interesting to look at the performance from a noob perspective. My first impression started in the foyer of the Opera House, outside of John Sutherland theatre. There were lots of decorations done in oriental royal style and items like lamp shades and cushions on filigree chairs reminded of a retro look full of adventure and extravagance.
Stage designs and decorations were absolutely fantastic! Side curtains portraying giant elephants stitched in red and yellow gold, forever gazing into the distance. Many costume changes, the ball gowns, the chic full skirts of Mrs Anna, the colourful and bright attire of the wives of the king and their children, it all screamed fun and excitement through the entire production. There was not a single dull moment in the show.
I feel that in this production Teddy Tahu Rhodes and Lisa McCune complimented each other greatly, this was evident when they both moved around on stage with such energy and passion! You could feel they were greatly comfortable with each other, the audience, their characters and just had a lot of fun performing in general.
And the kids, how talented were the kids! A whole bunch of little boys and girls who danced along to all the moves with everyone else, sang, spoke, acted. A truly talented cast where everyone contributed in equal weight, from extras on a boat to the lead characters.
The play was not without some good humour, drama and wholehearted spirit. I must say I enjoyed this musical more than expected and the appeal of this show is definitely to expend beyond the usual opera goer. It is family friendly, entertaining for couples, engaging for a group of friends and vocally dazzling for the older crowd.
The Sydney Opera House shows will continue until the 1st of November this year. I urge you to book tickets for your whole family or experience this musical as a great date or an awesome night out on the town.
Music By: Richard Rodgers
Book and Lyrics By: Oscar Hammerstein II
Based On ‘Anna and the King of Siam’ By: Margaret Landon
Director: Christopher Renshaw
Original Choreography By: Jerome Robbins
Choreographer: Susan Kikuchi
Scenic Designer: Brian Thomson
Costume Designer: Roger Kirk
Sound Designer: Michael Waters
Lighting Designer: Nigel Levings
Musical Director: Peter Casey
Orchestrations By: Robert Russell Bennett
Dance, Vocal and Incidental Music Arranged By: Trude Rittmann
As a side note, I’d like to share that Opera Australia is offering subscription packages to YOUTH at amazing rates.It’s nice to know that I am still considered to be a youth! Even better when you get deals for being under 30. Opera Australia is known for putting on spectacular and extravagant shows and I am always amazed at the costumes and stage designs. One word to describe it is GRAND. There is however also a reflection in the ticket price where you expect to pay anything between $180-$300 for good seats. For Italian operas (majority of the really good ones), you are going to need to see the surtitles running over the top of the stage. Most C and D reserve seats don’t have a view of the surtitles and you won’t get the needed translation. So I guess if you know the opera you’re going to see and read up on it in advance, then it would be.
For just $60/ticket (Any reserve!) you can select a package ( minimum of 3 opera productions from the allocated list) for yourself and a friend perhaps. I am going to take advantage of this offer, if its still around, until I turn 30
I’ve already got my tickets to The Marriage of Figaro, La Boheme and Tosca!
Photo credit: Brian Geach