DivaLicious: Opera Rocks!
DivaLicious Opera @ Garden of Unearthly Delights – Aurora Spiegeltent
4:00pm, Sun 8 Mar 2015
Now – I love me some operatic vocals, and I love opera-fied modern songs, too. So, with DivaLicious promising a blend of rock classics and… classics, I was lured into a near-capacity audience on a sticky Sunday afternoon.
The problem is that the précis for Opera Rocks! also promised that the ladies of DivaLicious – sopranos Fiona Cooper Smyth and Penny Shaw – would be duelling for the affection of the (little-used) baritone Robert Hofmann, who performed as a credible Phantom. And the duelling motif was fun… when it was used. And it was used far too infrequently.
The bulk of Opera Rocks! consisted of credible rock covers with classical instrumentation, attempts to apply rock-music credentials to classical composers, and plenty of costume changes. Maybe I’ve been numbed by Ali McGregor’s wonderful operatic interpretations of modern tracks, but few of the covers offered anything surprising… in fact, the one true highlight of the show for me was the clever blending of Mamma Mia into Bohemian Rhapsody. But whilst the DivaLicious girls certainly had wonderful voices, the (lack of) duelling and faux conflict between them (and the criminally underused Hofmann) sucked most of the joy from the performance for me.
Look – I’m sure there were plenty of people who left Opera Rocks! with huge, satisfied grins on their faces. But I wasn’t one of them: despite the fact that the show was built upon so much raw talent, and had so much potential, I found it to be underwhelming and – worse – disappointing.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 8, 2015