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WAO Playlist Series

16th April 2020 |

WAO Playlist IV curated by Production Manager, Mandy Farmer

This week, West Australian Opera’s Production Manager Mandy Farmer shares her playlist.  Mandy has been with West Australian Opera since 1984 where she worked as a Stage Manager before taking on her current position as Production Manager in 2000. Stream Mandy’s playlist and read her descriptions below where she gives some insight into working behind the scenes of some of our biggest productions including Lucia di Lammermoor, Norma and last year’s new staging of Macbeth.

La Traviata Act 1 Prelude (Verdi)

I fell in love with this piece of music when I saw the Zeffirelli film with Terasa Stratas and Placido Domingo. It just manages to encapsulate the opera and its setting in just a few minutes. It is heartbreakingly sad and sets the tone for the rest of the night!

Dove Sono I biei momenti (Mozart)

While I was studying Lighting & Sound at Perth Technical College I was fortunate enough to be allowed to sit in on rehearsals of Tom Lingwood’s production of “The Marriage of Figaro”. The experience was life-changing. I knew then that I wanted to work in opera and in Stage Management.  I still remember Merlyn Quaife singing Dove sono. This recording was one of the first recordings I bought on CD. It still remains my favourite recording of this aria.

Pieta, rispetto, amore (Verdi  Macbeth)

I’ve been lucky enough to work on two productions of Macbeth with Michael Lewis (1993) & James Clayton (2019). My office used to be next to the rehearsal studio and ten years ago I heard James having a coaching session with Jonathan Summers on this aria. James gave me a recording of him singing this aria a capella! I just need Michael to record it as well!! It was wonderful hearing James sing this aria last year onstage. This is a recording sung by Pierro Cappuccilli, another of my favourite singers.

Vissi Dárte (Puccini Tosca)

The first time I stage-managed Tosca was with Jane Eaglen in 1988. During the aria, I had to give a courtesy call to the cast and crew. I was asked by the cast to give the call earlier so that I didn’t interrupt them listening to the aria over the tannoy. Here is my favourite aria from my favourite singer Renata Tebaldi.

Lucia di Lammermoor. (Donizetti)

This was my first professional job in opera as an Assistant Stage Manager in 1984. I love it and I’ve been lucky enough to work on the opera many times. The last time being with Emma Pearson & Aldo di Toro. I love this recording – I think because it was my first recording that I heard – nothing compares to it. Here’s “Quanto rapito … sung by the wonderful Montserrat Caballe and then Edgardo’s final aria sung by my favourite tenor Jose Carreras.

Ruhe Sanft, mein holdes leben (Mozart Zaide)

I love Mozart and I love this aria from Zaide sung by Natalie Dessay.

Su lária –Mozart The Marriage of Figaro

This is the CD I have in my car. I love these 2 singers Patrizia Ciofi & Veronique Gens.

O Soave Fancuila (Puccini La Boheme) 

The first production of La Boheme that I worked on was in 1989. Tom Lingwood directed and designed it. It was a wonderful experience. Great cast – great production! The set was beautiful. Deborah Riedel and John Pickering were Mimi & Rodolfo. It still remains one of my favourite working experiences. Here’s the incomparable Pavarotti & Freni.

Der Holle Rache kockt in meinem Herzen (Mozart Die Zauberflote)

Sung by Diana Damrau. Just wonderful!

Io so che alle penne (Puccini Madam Butterfly)

I love Madama butterfly. It’s one of the operas that the more you hear it the more you love it! I love this trio. Last time we did Butterfly the trio featured Jonathan Summers, Maria Zifchak and Adam Diegel – Just wonderful.

Casta Diva   (Bellini Norma)

WAO put on Norma in 2004 with Elizabeth Connell in the title role. During the final stage rehearsal, I sat alone in the middle of the front row of the dress circle and listened to Elizabeth Connell sing Casta Diva. It was so moving. Whenever I hear “Casta Diva” I think of Elizabeth Connell.

Liebestod  (Wagner Tristan und Isolde)

WAO put on Tristan in 2006. It was a landmark for the company to put on Wagner. Susan Bullock was Isolde. It was fantastic listening to the Liebestod. I was lucky a few years ago to sit in on piano dress rehearsal with Nina Stemme singing Liebestod accompanied by a piano. Fantastic!

The Nightingale’s Song ( Mills Love of the Nightingale.)

Nightingale has enormous emotional significance for me. It was built in WA and Richard Mills, our then artistic director, composed and conducted it. It meant so much for this to be realised and it was thrilling to have the composer in rehearsals. This piece was a highlight then sung on stage by Emma Matthews. Thankfully there is a recording of Emma singing it.

Un Aura Amorosa – (Mozart  Cosi Fan Tutte)

Hopefully, we will be putting on Cosi later this year. Here’s Pavol Bresik singing Un Aura Amorosa. This opera is very special to me. It was the first opera I Stage managed in 1985. It was sung in English and was directed by Dennis Olsen and designed by Graham Maclean. I loved every minute of it!


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