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Review: A Comedy of Operas at Pleasance EICC – Ed Fringe

Review by Olivia Ruggiero

From the outset of this show you can tell it’s going to be fabulous – a grand spectacle. The set is huge, the audience is packed, and stage is enormous. The opening number to A Comedy of Operas is a farcical fanfare of Operatic hits sung with great aplomb. A fabulous medley with some Mozart, Verdi and Bizet for all the opera fans out there – the outlandish white, clown like makeup of the cast is clearly a mockery of “old” opera.

This cast of 5 operatic singers are versatile and very funny! The “rock opera” star, the lovelorn soprano, the suicidal tenor, the hoity baritone, and the dramatic (full pun-intended) soprano, all of whom play their parts brilliantly and sing flawlessly.

This show is for the opera devotee, with no surtitles, it’s not for the faint-hearted, so you better know your operatic arias if you’re coming along and be ready to laugh as the cast take the mickey out of them. By the second number, they have the audience eating out of the palm of their hands, clapping along, and laughing up roaringly. There is even some audience participation and boy was it a whole lot of fun!

Questioning, how seriously do opera singers take themselves seems to be a theme of the show, as the cast often makes fun of the stereotypical opera singer, who is prim and proper – but underneath, a complete and utter mess. They do this exceptionally well, with great comedic timing and physical acts of comedy.

“Un bel di vedremo” has never been so aptly sung, a complete mockery of this aria, and it’s probably the best version I have ever heard, along with the famous “Queen of the Night” aria which is sung with stunning accuracy and phenomenal display of coloratura control. I loved every song in this show, and the mashups with Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Sinatra and other classic pop/rock singers that were interspersed into the arias – giving it wider mass appeal and showing off just how talented these singers truly are.

There are fabulous little story arcs that happen throughout the show, like that of the very gay singer pursuing his maestro, the soprano who seems to be unable to find love (until she stumbles upon a lucky audience member who is dragged onto the stage and into the comedy), and the star-crossed lovers (a tenor and soprano of course!). These storylines, give the show thematic threads, that link it all together and make it work so beautifully.

The rendition of Time to Say Goodbye and the medley that followed was sheer brilliance and a fabulous way to end this spectacular show. I do love it when opera singers sing pop songs and embrace the weirdness that comes along with that – although these opera singers are so excellent, I believe they could give any pop singer a run for their money.

If you haven’t already rushed to buy a ticket for this show – you better do so quick. A lollipop opera show for all ages. Bravi tutti. I would be happy to watch it again!

Image Supplied


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