Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Circa in Spanish Baroque

This was fabulous


The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Circa have reunited for a glorious blend of Baroque music and circus at the City Recital Hall.
The performance was inspired by the Brandenburg’s ARIA Award-winning CD Tapas, which includes plenty of percussion, guitar and theorbo, and lashings of violin bravado, with music by Albéniz, Merula, Murcia, Martinez and more.
The two special guests were Baroque guitarist Stefano Maiorana from Rome and soprano Natasha Wilson from New Zealand making her Australian debut.
Circa’s artistic director Yaron Lifschitz’s choreography astutely blended sensational dazzling solos and breathtaking ensemble routines while always harmonising with the spirit of the music. It was a fluid combination of tumbling, gymnastics, balancing and aerial numbers , in various jaw-dropping sections making you blink and go “ I see it but I don’t believe it“. Dangerous dives, throws and catches were included as well as feats of strength and daring as well as sometimes triple-level human pyramids.The Orchestra sat on a raised platform at the back of the stage, Paul Dyer enthusiastically led as well as playing  harpsichord and organ. The Orchestra played passionately; at times flamenco like, with clicking castanets, at other times playing with heartfelt emotion and aching beauty.
Natasha Wilson brought a shiny nuance and delicate subtlety to Tarquino Merula’s aria Su la cetra amorosa which she sang with great clarity .
For the opening third of the program there was a giant pole in the middle of the floor that the performers used. Conor Neall performed an incredible heart stopping pole walking balancing act that had the audience gasping. There was a marvellous aerial act later, to Isaac Albéniz’s Leyenda Asturias which featured an exquisite Caroline Baillon on twisty spider web like ropes.
Vivaldi’s La folia, ravishingly performed by the Orchestra, was an arresting accompaniment to a spectacular trapeze act by Rowan Heydon-White which saw the male Circa performers lunging at her and furiously swinging her in a scene that had dark overtones.
More tranquil pieces, like the Zuola Codex’s Muerto estáis  allowed Circa members to use  more sculptural, graceful movement ideas.  
In another piece a wheelbarrow became a swirling matador’s cape and the Circa members joyously slithered over and under a table with great comic timing and precision.
A little later Billie Wilson-Coffey ascended the silks, suspended above the stage for a transfixing solo to the Catalan song La dama d’Argó.
Kathryn O’Keeffe, performing in a red leotard, showed great skill in a difficult balancing piece.
This performance was an irresistible physical spectacle accompanied by a gripping, haunting soundtrack. An aural and visual feast.
Running time about 90 minutes without interval.
SPANISH BAROQUE : THE AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA AND CIRCA is in performance at the City Recital Hall until May 12 and then ventures on to play seasons in Melbourne and Perth.

Martin Sharp by Joyce Morgan

A fascinating biography


This is a splendid, richly detailed biography of the iconic Australian artist Martin Sharp. He was the co-founder and principal cartoonist at Oz magazine, a song-writing partner to Eric Clapton, the  producer of many famous pop, and much more.
Joyce Morgan, former Sydney Morning Herald  arts editor and journalist, interviewed artist Martin Sharp frequently and intensively during the last decade of his life and unearthed a  fascinating, complex man – from his involvement with Tiny Tim and Luna Park to Arthur Stace’s Eternity landmark scrawl, Picnic at Hanging Rock, and the Sydney Opera House.
Morgan also uncovers information about Sharp’s part in architect Jorn Utzon’s secret departure from Australia in 1966 and his eventual re-connection with the Sydney Opera House.
Morgan’s book starts begins by creating a vivid portrait of Sharp’s early life. Sharp was an only child who grew up in privilege and attended private school in Sydney. At school his love of creativity and painting was encouraged by a very supportive teacher by the name of Justin O’Brien.
Eventually Sharp pursued art full-time, tranversing both high and low art. With his cheeky, provocative sense of humour he didn’t escape controversy most notably in the early to mid-sixties, when he and his Oz magazine co-founders Richard Neville and Richard Walsh were subjected to two obscenity hearings as a result of which they were briefly jailed.
The resulting courtroom dramas as described by Morgan is viewed as a contemporary social parable of the Philistines of moral conservatives pitched against the artists and heavyweight intellectuals.  Amongst these John Olsen compared Sharp to Hogarth.
Sharp eventually left Australia to live in the UK. He arrived in London during the ‘Swinging Sixties’ and was able to meet and mix with various celebrity artists and musicians.
At this time he created many psychedelic works, notably Seventeen Minutes to Four and he allowed people to sojourn at his home at The Pheasantry. (Sharp continued this flexible, fluid living arrangement on his return to Sydney,  including his final home, Wirian.
Morgan follows Sharp as he jumps between New York recording studios, Kings Cross coffee shops and ramshackle London mansions, sporadically taking a sabbatical to recharge in the Balearic Islands.
His glamorous, sometimes dangerous world included top models and major rock stars , gurus, fraudsters, petty criminals and cultural agitators.
There is also mention of a Japanese woodblock print, which may or may not have been the work of Hokusai, which Sharp discovered in Paris in 1972 and greatly treasured yet was later lost at Tokyo airport.
The 1970s, with Sharp returned to Sydney, saw him collaborate with other Australian luminaries such as Brett Whiteley, George Gittoes, and Peter Weir.
At Wirian, where Sharp lived and worked till his death in 2006, he entertained the likes of David Gulpilil and Princess Eugenie.
Sharp was responsible for repainting the face of Sydney’s Luna Park and the preservation of the site. His association with the amusement park as its artist in residence became a responsibility that weighed heavily on Sharp – he was consumed by guilt when seven people lost their lives on the ghost train ride fire in 1979.
This troubled obsession, coupled with a growing religiosity became evident in his art. In his later years, Sharp blended intense self-examination with a determination to share his conclusions, perhaps sometimes unwisely. Sharp’s legacy – his vision and its impact – remains perhaps capricious, even enigmatic.
Morgan has excellently woven together various events and places Sharp in historical context as well as highlighting the continuing legacy and importance of his work.
The publication is a small-to-medium sized book, rather thick, with both black and white and colour illustrations and an excellent index.
From the perspective of the second decade of the 21st Century Sharp can be viewed as one of the first and finest  post-studio, multi-disciplinary artists.
When he died, Sharp was described as ‘a stranger in a strange land who left behind a trail of stardust.’, a fitting description of a mercurial man. Joyce Morgan’s biography is a fascinating insight into the life and times of this singular, iconic Australian artist.
Martin Sharp : His Life and Times by Joyce Morgan
Category: Biography & Autobiography
ISBN: 9781760111755
Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Wicked as performed by Willoughby Theatre Company

A terrific version .Here's what I said for Sydney Arts Guide


‘No one mourns the wicked’.
The Willoughby Theatre Company transport us to OZ in this, their latest splendid production. It is colourful and spectacular with some sensational staging. The cast is young, vibrant, energetic and enthusiastic.
For this version the front cloth is a green and gold revolving compass like design . (No looming dragon, sorry fellow OZians).
The orchestra as boisterously led by Greg Jones played magnificently, but in Act 2 a couple of times I thought the sound was a little overwhelming and was presented like a rock opera rather than a musical.
Now regarded as a modern classic WICKED by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holman, based on the book by Gregory Maguire tells the story ‘ behind the scenes’ of The Wizard of Oz and what really happened. Who is Elphaba, the ‘Wicked Witch of the West‘? Why is her skin green ? What is Glinda’s real name? Who were the Tin Man , Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion originally ? All these questions are answered in the show…
WICKED tells the story of the friendship between two young women, Elphaba and Galinda, from very different backgrounds, who become the ‘witches’ Dorothy encounters in Oz when the Tornado blasts her from Kansas. Glinda is the University s popular girl, a ditzy blonde who is compelled to share rooms with the outcast Elphaba who was born with green skin. However while Glinda may have the wealth and beauty (think “Legally Blonde”) that a lot of young girls dream of, it is Elphaba who has the gift of sorcery that Glinda desires.
Moreover, Glinda’s glamorous fiancé Fiyero is actually in love with Elphaba, a revelation that almost destroys the two women’s friendship.
The show asks deep questions about what constitutes wickedness and goodness and wickedness which propels the narrative and many things are not quite what they seem.
Along the way to its “happy” ending, we meet many of the familiar Oz characters: Tinman, Lion, Scarecrow, Flying Monkeys, Munchkins, and, of course, the Wonderful Wizard. We also meet new characters : the, manipulative, plotting, Madame Morrible and the Goat Professor, Doctor Dillamond, whose voice is taken away (metaphorically and literally ) by the oppression and humiliation he undergoes.
The plot works on two levels: the bold, colourful , exciting and rather romantic story of the two witches, where the strange outsider wins the handsome Prince and lives “happily” ever after; and the exploration of more weighty themes that include responsibility, acceptance and power.
Under Stig Bell‘s excellent direction this is a bold, dynamic and colourful production with striking costumes, (both green OZIans and autumn toned others), fantastic lighting and impressive sets.
Kim Dresner’s choreography is very Broadway – mostly showbiz/contemporary but there are also ballroom references with shades of The King and I et al.
The large ensemble cast is very good with exciting vocal harmonies and crisply disciplined dance scene and very effective stage tableaux. Timing and pacing throughout were splendid.
At times the script was witty and ironic for examplethe duet for Elphaba and Galinda What is This Feeling ?). At other times there were projections of banners ( such as for Shiz University ) or 1930’s like style newspaper headlines or atmospheric projections of trees indicating shifting locale. In this production we actually see Dorothy throw the water at Elphaba.
As Elphaba Nikole Music was outstanding in a very sympathetic, charismatic, extremely accomplished and finely nuanced performance. We see Elphaba as a complex character —suspicious , reserved and cautious yet also stubborn and feisty. Music was also unafraid to reveal Elphaba’s troubled,rather sinister darker side. Her rendition of Defying Gravity  that takes us to interval was a highlight.
As Galinda/Glinda Carolyn Curtin was terrific, with her character ranging from capricious, self-centred spoilt brat to radiant, benign scheming power-broker with flashes of betrayed and betraying best friend and heartbroken fiancé glimpsed along the way.
One is not sure whether her Popular was sincere or mocking. Her Thank Goodness in Act 2 was wonderfully done quite Evita like.In some sections her role was quite operatic and demanding and Curtins handled the part deftly.
Tall, dark and handsome dashing Fiyero , precursor to the Scarecrow, was slickly played by Gavin Brown as a wealthy, careless, rather supercilious playboy who ends up questioning how he has lived  his life.
Peter Meedith plays the Wizard with great relish and charm, enthusiastically bringing freshness to the role. The scheming, scary rather manipulative side of his character was downplayed and what was emphasised was his genteel ‘’niceness’’ and how he followed the way created and proposed by others.
Scheming, controlling Madame Morrible was pompously played by Julianne Horne with other-worldly aloofness .
Endearing Dr Dillamond, a very inspiring lecturer who recognises Elphaba’s gifts was enchantingly played by Alex Giles. It felt quite sinister when he was dragged off by soldiers for being too ‘outspoken’.
Jessica Balzer as Nessarose was also terrific though her portrayal was delivered with a light touch. We see her seemingly gentle outward appearance , but discover she is somewhat angry and acerbic inside.
Poor Boq, in love with Galinda -who eventually becomes transformed into the Tin Man – was excellently played by Jared Pallesen who showcased a fine voice.
This was a glittering production which had the audience cheering in the end.
Running time – 2 hours 45 mins including one interval.
Willoughby Theatre Company’s production of WICKED is playing the Concourse Theatre at Chatswood until the 4th June.

Big Fish

This was glorious absolutely sensational

Once upon a time there was a small intimate theatre that decided to put on a musical called BIG FISH and the show became a smash hit and just grew and grew…This captivating musical has a heart bigger than the Nullarbor Plains.
The show is presented as a ‘chamber opera’ in what the producers have called the ‘twelve chairs’ version. Under Tyran Parke’s refined, accomplished direction, and thrillingly staged, the brilliant cast bring this story to magnificent life.
The small orchestra as led by Luke Byrne are invisible behind the scenery – we never see them but they are terrific. The set – young Will’s bedroom with seashell ruffles at the back for the mermaid – allows for fluid scene and locale changes including the moving  in and out of beds and tables etc.
The musical is based on the celebrated novel by Daniel Wallace and the acclaimed 2003 Columbia Pictures film directed by Tim Burton. The book  is by John August, who also wrote the original screenplay, with music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa .
The musical premiered on Broadway at the Neil Simon Theatre in October 2013 and has been rewritten and reconfigured for this production. In some ways the show has affinities with  productions such as Into the WoodsCloudstreetThe Book of Everything and even Oklahoma.
The story centres on Edward Bloom, a travelling salesman who lives life to its fullest… and then some! Edward’s incredible, larger-than-life stories thrill everyone around him – most of all, his devoted wife Sandra and their adult son, Will.
Will, about to have a child of his own, is determined to work out what is true and what is made up in his father’s storytelling. Faced with his father’s impending death Will begins to search even more desperately for the truth about the man he feels that he hardly knows, and discovers some secrets.
The musical seamlessly jumps between the enchanting magical world of Edward’s stories and the heartfelt interactions of a family faced with separation, grief and loss.
Edward’s fabulous stories have all the elements of magical myths, including love at first sight ( ‘Time Stops ‘) and an extremely romantic proposal scene ( ‘Daffodils’ ) but the true story of how Edward saved a town is only very reluctantly revealed .
The entire cast is superb. Phillip Lowe led the show as Edward. Lowe fluidly jumped between Bloom’s elder and younger selves and the different parts of his life, is totally captivating either as the charming younger travelling salesman, with baseball cap and cheekily engaging grin, as he is performing his older self.
Katrina Retallick as Sandra pulls out all the stops in a magnificent performance. Look out for the heartbreaking I Don’t Need A Roof  in Act 2 – just one example of her mesmerising talent.
Adam Rennie provides a terrific performance as the puzzled, troubled adult Will searching for the truth about his father. The emotional interactions between Edward and Will are powerful highlights to be treasured. Take some tissues –at  times during the show audience members were crying.
Jenny Hillwho has always also loved Edward, but he breaks her heart, is given a warm, thoughtful performance by Kirby Burgess.
Gentle giant Karl,  played by Seth Drury, looms over proceedings with some of the show’s best  one-liners.
Brittanie Shipway plays the dark and sultry witch with her crystal ball and unusual moss like creatures which she controls. Is she a friend or foe?!
Brendan Lovett doubles up as the  somewhat sinister circus manager, Amos Calloway, and the warm and caring Dr Bennett. The show features circus acts including clowns, aerial acts, jugglers, tumblers, and a bearded lady There is a Barnum like circus number – On The Road – which is elegantly staged.
Cameron Mitchell’s choreography was very impressive.
With warmth, humour, whimsy and a magnificent cast this show is phenomenal , theatrical magic and a must see. The full house standing ovation was more than richly deserved. Quick! Go treat yourself now.
Running time just over 150 minute including one interval.
BIG FISH is  playing at the Hayes Theatre, Greenknowe Avenue until 14th May.

Live at Lunch Flute Spirits

A most delightful concert .Here's what I said for Sydney Arts Guide


This was a  very exciting, dynamic and unusual concert, part of the Live at Lunch series at the Concourse, devised and presented by internationally renowned flautist Jane Rutter.
The performance opened dramatically with a very unconventional version of the traditional balled The Minstrel Boy featuring a new arrangement by Jane Rutter. Rutter, wearing a  heavily brocaded kimono like outfit with a gold outer layer over pink and green floral underlay, was superb on flute with Blak Douglas equally good on didgeridoo.
Rutter then went on to  talk about how she has a great sense of belonging to the land and country and its songlines and how the flute and the didgeridoo are two of the world’s instruments.
We then heard La Primavera (Spring) for Solo Flute – from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, arranged by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Rutter played the piece with crystal clarity and  with a lush, bright tone.
Rutter then changed to her alto flute for Journey to the East by Sarah Hopkins, with arrangement by Rutter.  This piece had a dark floating tone.
Syrinx by Debussy,  with its complicated imagery  featured another shimmering solo for Rutter, now back on her favourite gold flute.
The world premiere of Rutter’s Syrinx at the Water Hole, Karnak featured a duet for flute and didgeridoo .The didgeridoo rumbled and provided bass accompaniment for Rutter’s darting, gliding flute.
A very moving and poignant He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother ( Russel- Scott) segued in to Vaughan Williams The Lark Ascending.
Douglas gave a short talk on the history of didgeridoos, how they were made and the various playing styles and songlines used .He then played a brolga dance.
Ross Edwards’ Ulpirra was a very fast, breathless, darting piece for flute performed by Rutter.
Rutter played the lyrical  Sonate en Ut majeure by Devienne Esu & Kokpelli with a bright warm tone and some great flourishes.
Rutter played the emotive, longing Talk of Coming Home, her own composition based on Dvorak.
Vivaldi’s Winter (the 3rd Movement of his Four Seasons) featured a lovely duet with flute and didgeridoo and one could visualise skaters gliding across the ice.
Jane Rutter performed a passionate version of the classic Danny Boy (arrangement by Rutter).
The concert concluded with an exuberant rendition of the jig like Phil the Fluter’s Ball (arrangement by Rutter).
We all then departed for lunch with some music lovers taking the opportunity to purchase one of the CDs available.
Running time 75 minutes.
The concert Flute Spirits and The Seasons was at The Concourse as part of the Live at Lunch series at 12 pm on Wednesday 12th April 2017.

LIve at Lunch: Monet and the Flowers of War

A beautiful  concert


Celloist David Pereira. Images by Steven Godbee
One hundred years after the First World War, bullets, bones and bombs are still being discovered by farmers in the fields of France. They remind us of the men of Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Germany, and France who died so painfully in the trenches in the rain and mud.
I was privileged to be at this latest Live at Lunch concert and hear this luminous, soulful performance.
The marvellous quartet of musicians consisted of Jane Rutter on flute, Tamara-Anna Cislowska on piano, David Pereira on cello and Christopher Lantham ( the director of The Flowers of War) on violin. Rutter wore a striking kimono/suit like outfit in turquoise and black the other performers were in orchestral black.
Various short pieces were played, elegantly chosen and combined to make up this sensitive, yearning program. Some were Australian premieres. Composers included Debussy, Ravel, Cras and Boulanger.
Red poppies were strewn on the stage and while the quartet played assorted images of Monet’s marvellous paintings were shown – mostly of his garden at Giverny. Some paintings were soft and tranquil, others in contrast were bright , bold and colourful , almost semi abstract.
The concert was divided into seven sections, loosely based on various themes of Monet’s paintings, that flowed seamlessly into each other ( the pool, the lotus… ) and were accompanied by appropriate paintings.
The concert opened with Debussy’s Finale from the Cello Sonata with rippling piano and the cello at first sprightly but then it became an aching lament.
A fiery selection from Ravel’s piano trio was next, then came a shimmering segment from Debussy’s Violin Sonata in G Minor which was in some ways a furious argument between the trio of violin, piano and cello with the piano floating and the strings yearning.
We then heard works by Boulanger with ravishing violin, melancholic cello and the piano cascading in the background. At times, the piano was limpid and crystalline.
Rather exotic, languid works by Debussy and Cras followed with rumbling piano and darting flute. Selections by Gaubert and Boulanger followed with cascading piano and leaping flute. The music had an underwater feel to it.
Various other works were included. One flurried, jumping piece had blisteringly fast, emphatic piano sections and soaring flute. Sometimes the atmosphere was spiky and at others melancholy.
The final work Cras’ Danza Terra featuring a dominant flute and a haunting passionate quartet.
Concert running time approximately 70 minutes without interval.
MONET : THE FLOWERS OF WAR was performed at the Concourse Chatswood on the 10th May.

Sydney Dance Company in Orb

An unusual double bill. Here's my thoughts for Artshub

An unusual combination of wonderful dance around the number 8 and the moon.
Full Moon image via Sydney Dance Company.
Two world premieres to celebrate Ocho and Full Moon;  it is eight years since Bonachela was appointed Artistic Director of Sydney Dance Company.  Another link to the number eight is that both works used eight dancers. It also is a chance to see some magnetic, superb dancing.
Cheng Tsung-lung, artistic director of Cloud Gate 2, has devised a work entitled Full Moon which is very powerful, meditative and hypnotic.
It is based on the idea of blending the various myths and legends about the Moon and its pull – and the mysterious forest in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Zen. The music by Lim Giong is at times relentless and driving and has a gong like and sometimes Gamelan feel, combining strings electronics and percussion.  
Choreographically it opens at a run. Some of the movements are almost feral, at times slithery and lizard like. There are also elements of Butoh perhaps and stylized ritual as if in a temple. Slowmo and both birdlike and other animal movements (hair flowing like tossed manes) were also included. At times extreme control was demanded with the very slow unfolding of a foot or unfurling of an arm. There are some very demanding and unusual lifts. Amazing soft jumps with high elevation were required as well as rolling floorwork and whirling dervish trance like spinning. Sometimes the dancers were like Buddhist sculptures. Overall choreographically the work uses the circle as a framework, dancers arcing, spinning and running.
Costumes by Fan Huai-chih, in silvers, blues and red, inspired by Zen principles, (particularly the Japanese rock garden) accentuates the use of layers and wonderful assorted textures. Latisha Sparks in a ruffled red dress has a spectacular, very exciting solo. Sam Young-Wright, who is very tall, is costumed in a long skirt that flows with his many turns and high kicks. Damien Cooper’s ambient soft/hard lighting was elegantly distinguished. Cooper’s atmospheric lighting was at times eerie and shadowy, sometimes  with flickering flashes of lighting at other times clear or with glorious washes of colour. Nick Wales’ crashing electronic score boomed and rumbled with overlays of trumpet and a haunting, impressive finale with the voice of Yonglu songman Rrawun Maymuru included, accompanying the hopefully healing moments at the end. 
Bonachela’s Ocho (‘Eight‘ in Spanish) was chilling, cold and powerful. It examined the loneliness of being in  a group, the pressure of living in the  concrete jungle of a harsh urban environment .Each of the dancers have shining , spectacular solos. It ended on a hopeful note with glorious sunrise like lighting and First Peoples music being sung.

Rating: 3½ stars out of 5

Orb by Sydney Dance Company 

Full Moon
Choreographer: Cheng Tsung-lung
Composer: Lim Giong
Lighting & Set Designer: Damien Cooper
Costume Designer: Fan Huai-chih
Choreographer: Rafael Bonachela
Composer: Nick Wales, featuring vocals by Rrawun Maymuru used with permission of the Mangalili Clan
Lighting Designer: Damien Cooper
Set & Costume Designer: David Fleischer
Costume Realisation: Aleisa Jelbart

Two Weddings One Bride

This was joyous , silly fun hugely enjoyed .Here's my thoughts for the Guide :


This joyous, frothy operetta is a sheer delight. Robert Andrew Greene’s TWO WEDDINGS ONE BRIDE is adapted from Charles Lecocq’s 1874 classic operetta Girofle-Girofla. Musically it blends some of the most famous and beautiful songs of the operetta repertoire (Strauss, Offenbach, Lehar, Kalman, Lecocq, Stolz ) yet at times it sounds like Mozart, Verdi or even Gilbert and Sullivan.
There is a lush Oriental minimal set design by Owen Phillips – looking as if it could be for The Abduction From The Seraglio or some such – and stunning costumes by Tim ChappelAndrew Hallsworth’s choreography is inventive and the small cast of five perform with great comic timing.
Polished musical accompaniment was provided by pianist Robert Andrew Green and violinist Yuhki Mayne.The songs were was sung in English; the lyrics were a bit risqué and there were a couple of witty Australian references .
We are at the residence of the French Governor Phillipe  and his wife Aurore in Tangiers ,Morocco 1941 where preparations are underway for the forthcoming double wedding of identical twins Girofle and Girofla. When pirates kidnap Girofla, Girofle’s parents concoct a plan to keep both bridegrooms happy and save the family’s and Morocco’s finances and future. Will Girofla be rescued? Will Philippe loose the dowry money and his head? Or will all be resolved happily?
John Bolton Wood and Geraldine Turner are splendid as the two parents. Their love-hate relationship (Aurore is seriously considering demanding a divorce) is portrayed with fabulous comic timing.
Turner, playing the money chasing matriarch, is glamorous in a long evening gown, is in stunning voice whilst Wood in imposing heavily brocaded uniform was terrific with his comic maladroitness and self- important pompousness.
Julie Lea Goodwin as the twins was vivacious and magnificent. Her voice was supple and controlled.The differences between the more feisty, assertive and sophisticated Girofla and the somewhat shyer, more submissive Girofle were wittily delineated. Her quick costume changes were impressive and the wedding dress was a stunning multi layered ruffled confection.
Blonde, handsome Nicholas Jones was splendid as the dashing romantic lead Marasquin, the son of Governor Philippe’s bankers and the groom to be of Girofle.
Romantic and somewhat shy he was splendid in his rendituion of Lehar’s Dein is mein ganzes Herz. Another highlight was the scene with Julia Lea Goodwin as Giroffe when she reacts in a very comic, over the top way to his serenading her.
Baritone Andrew Jones impressed as the impatient, over the top lusty Generale Mogdiliani. Jones  played his character as egotistical, ‘oily’ and a little mad. The Generale’s increasing frustration at the absence of Girofla is well depicted.
Wonderful tenor and master of disguise David Lewis with honeyed tones, terrific diction and singing combined with smooth grace impressed playing four different characters: ‘Pedro’, ‘a Spanish cook’, ‘a wedding celebrant’ and ‘an Australian Colonel’. A highlight was his rendition of Offenbach’s Gendarmes duet which became a quartet.
This was an enchanting fast paced operatic comedy that saw the satiated audience clapping along to the can can finale .
The current season of Opera Australia’s production of Robert Andrew Greene TWO WEDDINGS ONE BRIDE, directed by  Dean Bryant, is playing the Playhouse at the Sydney Opera House until  21st May, followed by further seasons between 7th and the 25th June, and the final season between the 12th and  22nd October 2017.