Brad’s Blog – The Day After

A PERSONAL VIEW FROM BRAD COHEN
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR of the WEST AUSTRALIAN OPERA 
Original version appeared on the 15th July 2015 and is available at ‘Brad’s Blog’
THE DAY AFTER

Our production of The Marriage of Figaro had its first night last night, and I’ve woken this morning with its glow still warm. This time around I want to share with you some thoughts about first nights, and last night in particular.

Pictured: Elvira Fatykhova as Countess Almaviva, Emma Pearson as Susanna and James Clayton as Figaro. Photograph: James Rogers

Premieres are peculiar in some ways. After the intensive work of production week, when the major stage rehearsals with orchestra, costume and makeup all take place, the first night is when our best-laid plans can still fall flat. What works in the rehearsal room may not capture an audience’s attention, and first-night nerves can sometimes sabotage our own efforts to do our best.

I’m delighted to report that last night was not one of those nights. In fact, it seemed to be one of those magical evenings in the theatre, when an attentive and engaged audience delighted in the action on stage, the warm and witty music of Mozart, and the talent of a distinguished Australian cast. Neil Armfield’s humane and detailed revival of his own production gives an audience so much more than comedy, and by Act Four we were well and truly rooting for each character through all the twists and turns of the garden scene. Antony Walker’s musical direction allowed the magnificent score to envelop us in its delicious aromas, through the energy and variety of WASO’s playing. And Dale Ferguson’s delightfully clever designs completed the gorgeous experiences on stage.

A particular joy of the evening lay in two Company debuts. Emma Pearson, in her home town operatic debut, had a spectacular success as Susanna, and we are grateful and delighted that she has been able to join us for this revival at such short notice. Samuel Dundas as the Count is another great addition to our roster, and Perth audiences will have the chance to experience his commitment and physicality later this year in Faust. For me as Artistic Director, one great joy is to be able to enlarge our Company family, to welcome new members to the fold, and to have these two artists now as part of this family is a delight.

Most of all, I would remind you that there are only five performances of this production left! Buy your tickets here. This is an opera I urge you to catch, both you and anyone you know who enjoys stagecraft, comedy, and Mozart. I hope that if you weren’t with us last night that you will make time to come to His Majesty’s in the next two weeks – and that if you were there you might think about coming again. I have been watching this production with great attention for the last few weeks, and each viewing reveals to me new details, subtleties and richnesses. There is certainly more than can be taken in in one experience.

Until next time,

Brad

Brad Cohen
Artistic Director