Opera, as a whole, does one thing very well: putting on large and lavish shows. As you stroll down towards Lady Macquarie’s Chair, glance to your left and peer through the trees trying to get a glimpse of the Harbour Bridge, or indeed the Opera House… well… you won’t be able to. Instead you’ll be struck by the absolutely massive structure that sits in front of them both.
La Traviata was meant to be performed last year, but (all together now!) “because of Covid,” they have had to delay until the 26th March, and although other opera productions are up and running, the industry hasn’t quite been able to get their hit of spectacle.
The set is as grand as any Handa stage and, so I’m told, includes the largest outdoor chandelier in the world. Which leads me to believe that someone, somewhere has a chandelier indoors that is far too bloody large because La Traviata’s one needs a commercial crane, and several crew to winch it into place.
The set is still being built, but rehearsals are already underway and we are given a quick glimpse of what’s to come. Strangely there is a remarkable lack of opera, but the “gypsy girls” as I am reliably told they are named, having arrived by boat emitting screams and whoops of delight, give us a dance. Their energy is undeniable with as good a performance as the best corps de ballet (albeit slightly more latin) and even with just a piano and in the broad light of day, you can see what grand show is to come.
It’s going to be huge, glamorous, flashy and, now that I have looked through the four A4 pages of statistics about the show that absolutely boggle the mind, I know it is what Opera does best: Epicness.
La Traviata is performing from March 26th till April 25th at the Fleet Steps at Mrs Macquarie’s Point.