Opera season offers a magical feast for the senses

Audience members can expect fun, farce and fantasy in this year’s opera season at the Queensland Conservatorium from September 10-16.

The double-bill of one-act operas includes The Child and the Enchantments and The Breasts of Tiresias by French composers Maurice Ravel and Francis Poulenc.

The Child and the Enchantments tells the tale of a naughty boy who, after destroying his room in a temper, is taunted by the objects he broke as well as animals and insects in the garden he has tormented. The Breasts of Tiresias is set in the mythical town of Zanzibar where a woman named Therese is tired of the burden of her sex. She ties up her husband and liberates her breasts in the form of two balloons. Now a man, she departs on a worldwide journey of discovery, leaving her trans-gendered husband with the task of bearing babies.

Opera Director Gregory Massingham said the operas were miniature masterpieces by two of the 20th century’s greatest composers.

“They are wonderfully contrasted works, from the sublimity of the Ravel to the ridiculousness of the Poulenc; each beautifully orchestrated with remarkable libretti by two great French literary figures, Colette and Apollinaire,” he said.

“The Ravel opera has a gentle but profound message of forgiveness and compassion while in his opera, Poulenc plays with the idea of gender and in a very light-hearted manner explores its ambiguity with some interesting results.”

The Queensland Conservatorium’s production involves more than 100 vocal and instrumental students and staff including Mirusia Louwerse, who recently won the Dame Joan Sutherland award.

“These pieces are ideal for our needs. As well as being works of the highest calibre, they provide solo opportunities for many of our most talented students — over 20 solo roles in the Ravel and more than 10 in the Poulenc, many of these then double in the ensembles — a total of about 50 singers on stage,” Mr Massingham said.

Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University is one of the only Australian institutions to give its students the opportunity to perform in a full opera production each year.

In association with QPAC and Opera Queensland, Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University will stage The Breasts of Tiresias and The Child and The Enchantments at the Conservatorium Theatre, Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, South Bank.

Bookings through QTIX 136 246 or www.qtix.com.au