Lost & Found Opera
UWA Aquatic Centre
REVIEW WILLIAM YEOMAN
In Roman poet Ovid’s epic Metamorphoses, gods and mortals are transformed into beasts, objects or other gods or humans.
Lost & Found Opera transforms French baroque composer Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s opera Acteon into something resembling a jazzed-up English masque set in a swimming pool.
Ovid recounts the story of Acteon, the hunter who stumbles across the goddess of the hunt Diana and her nymphs bathing naked in a spring. The furious goddess changes Acteon into a stag. He is set upon by his dogs, who no longer recognise the master.
Directed by Brendan Hanson, with musical direction by Chris van Tuinen, Acteon is a visual and aural feast.
With the audience seated around the the University of WA Aquatic Centre’s pool, synchronised swimming team SynchroWA, drunken hunters and scantily clad nymphs sing and splash, dance and carouse, to the swing of a band including van Tuinen (keyboards), Dylan Hooper (sax), Ashley Smith (clarinet) and Matthew McGlynn (trumpet).
Performances are variously sexy, playful, poised and plangent, with only the chorus letting the side down in the last lap.
Hanson and designers Tyler Hill and Karen Cook have created a chiaroscuro- drenched world with brilliant visual references. At one point, Acteon’s stripped body is taken from a ladder, forming a tableau vivant reminiscent of a deposition from the cross.
Performances — principals include Russell Harcourt (Acteon) and Ashlyn Tymms (Diana) — are variously sexy, playful, poised and plangent, with only the chorus letting the side down in the last lap.
Acteon continues Lost & Found Opera’s tradition of presenting little-known works in unusual places.
While it is not as successful as its previous productions, it’s risky, fun and definitely worth taking the plunge.
Acteon is on September 14-15. Tickets from TryBooking.