‘AIDA ON SYDNEY HARBOUR’ features the Australia Opera and Ballet Orchestra and Opera Australia Chorus under the baton of Brian Castles-Onion, one of Australia’s most highly regarded conductors and pianists.
The entire cast in this performance sang superbly. Acts 1 and 2 sounded technically wonderful but there was still something lacking for me. During acts 3 and 4 it felt like the performances were more powerful and soaked in emotion. This coincided with the set being used less and the performers being subtly lit which could well have added to the drama and emotion portrayed.
Latonia Moore plays Aida and does a fantastic job. Moore’s voice is an absolute delight to listen to. Walter Fraccaro sounds great as Radames but for me the best performance was David Parkin performing as Ramfis, the High Priest. There was just something about his voice and performance that grabbed my attention.
They had an excellent set for Aida; there was the face of Nefertiti looking down upon the performance. The backdrop of Sydney opera house, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney city skyline was superb. It wasn’t over done with how many times it was shown during the film and looked impressive after the intermission when night had set in and everything was lit up. I can see how some, opera purists possibly, may think the set over the top but I thought it went well with the impressive backdrop, even though I preferred the performance when the set was not lit fully.
There were a couple of sections when I think the film editing went slightly wrong. White text in some of the scenes made it really tricky to read what was written. There was also one scene where the camera shot meant the writing went right over the performer and given it was a distant shot they weren’t particularly large on the screen so got covered in text. Finally the crowd shot showed several empty seats and at the end of the performance showing some of the audience leaving whilst the bows were taking place, and those bows went on, seemed somewhat amiss.
I did however thoroughly enjoy myself and would recommend anyone to go and watch the one-off performance on 15th September at one of the 300+ UK cinemas showing the performance. It is an excellent introduction to opera if you’ve never been. It did make me want to attend the Opera on Sydney Harbour in person but that sadly isn’t likely to happen.
Review by Lee Cogger
AIDA – Latonia Moore
RADAMÈS – Walter Fraccaro
AMNERIS -Milijana Nikolic
AMONASRO – Michael Honeyman
RAMFIS – David Parkin
THE KING – Gennadi Dubinsky
HIGH PRIESTESS – Eva Kong
MESSENGER – Benjamin Rasheed
Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra
Opera Australia Chorus
CONDUCTOR – Brian Castles-Onion
DIRECTOR – Gale Edwards
SET & COSTUME DESIGNER – Mark Thompson
LIGHTING DESIGNER – Matt Scott
SOUND DESIGNER – Tony David Cray
CHOREOGRAPHER – Lucas Jervies
SITE DESIGNER – Eamon D’Arcy
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR 1 – Andy Morton
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR 2 – Kate Gaul
Tuesday 8th September 2015