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WAO Playlist XIV Curated by Karen Farmer

This week's playlist is curated by Stage Manager Karen Farmer. Stream and read about Karen's playlist which includes operatic classics from Le Nozze di Figaro, Nabucco and The Mikado. 

Non so Piu from Le Nozze di Figaro performed by Frederica von Stade 

I saw West Australian Opera’s production of The Marriage of Figaro in 1984.This was the production that made me fall in love with opera and Irene Waugh’s performance as Cherubino was extraordinary.

Va Pensiero from Nabucco performed by Vienna State Opera Chorus

In 1985 Dawn Badminton, who was the Wardrobe Supervisor for West Australian Opera, rang me to see If I was interested in dressing on Nabucco at His Majesty’s Theatre. It was my second year out of Perth Technical College where I had graduated with a diploma in costume design and construction.  I was employed as the dresser for the Ladies of the Chorus. They were a wonderful group of women and made going to work a joy.

A Wand’ring Minstrel from The Mikado performed by The D’Oyley Carte Opera Company

In the mid to late 80’s I combined working in the wardrobe departments of West Australian Ballet and  West Australian Opera with working as an assistant stage manager for Perth’s theatre companies.  In 1988 I was offered work as a performance ASM for WAO on The Mikado. David Hobson was Nanky Poo and his first entrance was on a moped carrying a saxophone. It was a fantastic production, directed by Lindy Hume and designed by the late Graeme Maclean, and really cemented my love for all things G & S.

After Much Debate Internal, I on Lady Jane Decide from Patience performed by The D’Oyley Carte Opera Company

In 1994  I was asked to “ call” the Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s production of “Patience” at The Playhouse Theatre.  This was the first opera I called and Allison Fyfe, who is now the surtitle operator and librarian for WAO, was Patience.  Five years later it also became the first opera  I stage managed for WAO with Natalie Jones in the title role.  I’ve chosen this number for no reason other than I love it!

Donde Lieta Usci from La Boheme performed by Anna Netrebko

I have worked on four productions of La Boheme for West Australian Opera.  Act 3 always leaves me close to tears. 

Act 3 Quartetto  Un Di, Se Ben Rammentomi from Rigoletto performed by The Metropolitan Opera

West Australian Opera presented Opera Australia’s production of Rigoletto in 2007. The  Act 3 quartet was sung by Michael Lewis, Elvira Fatykhova, Sarah-Janet Dougiamas and Paul O’Neil.  In 2013 the company produced a semi-stage performance, directed by Stuart Maunder, for Opera in the Park. The quartet on that occasion was performed by James Clayton, Katja Webb, Fiona Campbell and Rosario La Spina. This recording from Metropolitan Opera features Luciano Pavarotti, Cheryl Studer, Denyce Graves and Vladimir Chernov.

Wotan’s Farewell & Magic Fire Music from Die Walkure performed by Bryn Terfel

In 2013 I watched the cinema screenings of The Metropolitan Opera’s performances of Richard Wagner’s four-opera epic Der Ring des Nibelungen directed and designed by Robert Lepage and Ex Machina.  The staging was extraordinary. I was absolutely mesmerised. Last year my sister and I travelled to New York to watch the productions live at The Metropolitan Opera.  I was mesmerised again! 

Wotan’s Farewell occurs in the final act of Die Walkure, the second opera in the quartet. Here he is bidding a final farewell to his daughter Brunhilde.  He strips her of her immortality and then lays her sleeping form down on a rock. He then calls on the fire god Loge to surround her with eternal fire. He leaves the stage, pronouncing before he goes that anyone who fears his spear shall not cross the flaming fire.  The opera ends with Brunhilde completely engulfed in flames as the curtain descends. Great stuff!

Di Provenza il mar, Il suol from La Traviata performed by Dmitri Hvorostovsky

I saw Richard Eyre’s production of “La Traviata” at The Royal Opera House London in  2014.  Violeta was sung by Diana Damrau, Alfredo by Francesco Demurro and the late Dmitri Hvorostovsky sang the role of Giorgio Germont. It was a wonderful night at the opera.

Pourquoi me  Reveiller from Werther by Roberto Alagna.

Roberto Alagna is the sun in my tenor solar system!  I have seen him live three times in productions of “Tosca”, “ Il Trovatore” and “Otello”.  One day I hope to see him perform the role of Werther in an opera house.

Perfidi! All’anglo Conto Me V’unite! from Macbeth performed by Zeljko Lucic

This is my favourite baritone aria sung by my favourite baritone!  In 2018 I saw Zeljko Lucic perform the role of Macbeth in London and it was marvellous!