Opera in the Park: Gianni Schicchi



Opera in the Park has become a much-loved institution in Perth. For two decades and more, the WA Opera Company has teamed with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra to come up with an event that is eagerly awaited and keenly supported. Whole families come with picnic fare, and it is amazing to realise that children, even those under five, are spellbound by the happenings on stage – or, more likely, on one of the two huge screens that allow the enormous assemblage to see what’s happening from many metres away. What’s more, the event is telecast throughout the state, and finds a ready audience.

This year’s choice of opera was a stroke of genius. Short, funny and full of lovely music, Gianni Schicchi kept the audience spellbound and laughing for an hour of brilliant entertainment. Mind you, I wish they hadn’t played a recording of O mio babino caro over and over again for nearly two solid hours before the show started.


But once the show did get underway, everyone was spellbound. Not only was the music beautifully performed, the characters were brilliantly portrayed. This little opera not only sports an entertaining plot about a forged will, but also a charming little subplot dealing with the romance of Rinuccio (Virgilio Marino) a relative of the deceased landowner Buoso Donati, and Lauretta (Kiandra Howarth) daughter of the wily Gianni Schicchi (Douglas McNicol). These three carry the plot along, with essential input from a team of other clearly-delineated characters. (Fiona Campbell as the domineering Zita was a hoot!) And all of them can sing like angels.

Who wouldn’t sing like an angel when backed by the wonderful WASO, under the baton of Brad Cohen, the opera company’s Artistic Director? Still a young man, Cohen has conducted orchestras worldwide. Opera is his metier, and he was obviously very much at home with Gianni Schicchi. Signor Puccini would surely have been proud to see such a well-produced and realised interpretation of his work.

The cleverly designed set enabled us to see into Donati’s bedroom and dining room while allowing easy entrances and exits. Sound was excellent. In fact, there is little I can say about this production that does not require superlatives, emojis and a lot of hand waving. Viva l’opera!

I really must stop seeing so many good shows, or my rep as a tough reviewer will be in tatters. Another one for five stars out of five!

Rating: 5 stars


Media Coverage


Gianni Schicchi

Avenoir Magazine, 8 February 2016





Medical Forum Faust. Teddy Tahu Rhodes Article


Madama Butterfly

ABC Arts, 28 February, 2015

Daily Review, 27 February, 2015

The West Australian, 26 February, 2015


The Rabbits

The West Australian, 16 February, 2015

ABC Arts, 16 February, 2015

Perthnow, 16 February, 2015


West Australian Opera announces Artistic Director Brad Cohen

The West Australian, 4 February, 2015

The West Australian, 30 January, 2015

PerthNow, 30 January, 2015

Limelight, 30 January, 2015


Star Navigator

The West Australian, 7 January, 2015


The Magic Flute Interviews

Community News & Alexander Lewis, 30 June 2014

The West & Daniel Sumegi, 2 July 2014


The Magic Flute Reviews

The West Australian, 17 July 2014

Australian Stage, 19 July 2014

Stage Whispers, 19 July 2014

Out in Perth. 17 July 2014

100% Rock, 16 July 2014

WA Today, 21 July 2014


New Chairman for West Australian Opera

The West Australian, 1 May 2014



The West Australian, 26 April 2014



The West Australian, 6 February 2014


2014 West Australian Opera Season

The West Australian, 16 October 2013


La Boheme

The Sunday Times, 13 October 2013

The Post, 2 November 2013


Don Giovanni

The West Australian, 18 July 2013


La Traviata

The West Australian, 11 April, 2013


EDM Archive 2016

West Australian Opera January Newsletter