Tag: David Meadows


CANDIDE in Melbourne

Dann Barber’s all-purpose unit set was deceptively simple and highly effective, proof positive that even in a grand, capacious venue like the Palais, and within a lumbering, overstated comedic farce, sometimes the simplest scenic conceits, well-executed, are all that is required.

Opera is drama


And frankly, in this financially perilous, post-Covid reality, if “that’ll do” is the default standard, why SHOULDN’T opera companies save themselves a buck, abandon the scenic and production elements entirely, and revert to purely concert presentations or broadcasts? Why stage opera at all if you’re not going to kick it in the proverbial?Suzanne Chaundy’s credit as director appeared to be nominal at best. Her “direction” meandered listlessly from perfunctory to non-existent, risibly boasting a seemingly inexhaustible supply of stone dead, egg-on-face navel-gazing during transitions from recitative to number, a veritable mountain of motiveless and uninformed to-ing & fro-ing from the principals, and chorus scenes presented in bland-and-deliver concert form rather than anything approaching an actual crowd scene. And this was on top of the gaping holes in rudimentary, entry level stagecraft — inconsistencies atop anachronisms atop hamfistedness. The evening emerged as a deeply frustrating exercise in the all-pervading “that’ll do”-ism that beleaguers opera production here and abroad, and which, sadly, seems to be Melbourne Opera’s signature style.IDOMENEO. Whether it was opening night enthusiasm, active sabotage, or Hume foolishly seeking to have her cake and eat it too, the behavioral and spatial credibility so clearly sought rapidly descended into laughably melodramatic indulgence.



Killian’s playing was a solid and potent spine to the evening’s music-making, even if little thought was given to aural balance within the venue, with the proximity of piano and vocalist frequently drowning out the latter.