Vanity project?

I have [now] watched [update] the first two three episodes  all of the much-touted “TV Opera” The Divorce.

General impression: cross between Marriage of Figaro, Kiss Me Kate, London Road and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries; required some patience to sit through, motivated on my part by an interest to see how the public money and resources devoted to it by Opera Australia were acquitted and by the advance claims made for the project on behalf of the company.

I am still trying to work out how this got to air.

Apparently the score and book were originally commissioned by The Opera Conference from Joanna Murray Smith and Elena Kats-Chernin.

It’s not clear whether it was to be a TV-opera at that stage, though all reason suggests not, since what interest would Opera Conference have in mounting a TV opera?  The Opera Conference is a venture for sharing costs of mounting actual operas, surely?

As “Big Dog” commented on the Daily Review:

Without a single opera singer in the cast, and admitting it is “driven by pop/musical theatre rhythms” and “closer to the pop-influenced scores you hear in contemporary musical theatre”, why persist in calling it an opera? It’s clearly a musical theatre piece for tv. Not to put it down – I applaud the initiative – but why keep pretending it’s something it’s not?

That’s not quite true.  The Opera Australia chorus are a vocal presence – in the studio rather than on screen. Judging from the credits Sam Dundas and John Longmuir, actual opera singers, may be amongst the party guests though not, as far as I could make out, in singing roles.

The first two episodes seemed oddly reminiscent of  Miss Fisher’s murder mysteries – I thought at first this was just the posh Melbourne mansion and retro feel though now I wonder if it isn’t the camera work as well.  And so far as retro-feel is concerned, there are even two gangsters, just like in Kiss Me, Kate.

The opening credits state:

 Original Concept: Lyndon Terracini AM.

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One Response to “Vanity project?”

  1. Andrew Says:

    I think the best that can be said for the show is that it is, ‘an unusual and challenging concept’. I say, good on our ABC for trying something different.

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