THEATRE REVIEW - Aida on Sydney Harbour, Opera Australia, CinemaLive at South Holland Centre, Spalding

The spectacular setting for Opera Australia's version of Verdi's opera Aida on Sydney Harbour.  Photo by Hamilton Lund.
The spectacular setting for Opera Australia's version of Verdi's opera Aida on Sydney Harbour. Photo by Hamilton Lund.
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Fair goes out of love and war in Aussie opera epic

There can be few more mouthwatering settings for an all-time classic opera like Aida than Sydney Harbour.

Aida (Latonia Moore) and Amonasro (Michael Honeyman) in Opera Australia's production of Verdi's Aida on Sydney Harbour.  Photo by Prudence Upton.

Aida (Latonia Moore) and Amonasro (Michael Honeyman) in Opera Australia's production of Verdi's Aida on Sydney Harbour. Photo by Prudence Upton.

Rio de Janeiro, Venice, Red Square, Moscow, below Mount Fuji in Japan and Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, perhaps.

But Opera Australia came as close to perfection as anyone with the backdrop of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the city’s Opera House for an epic drama about war, love, betrayal and death.

American soprano Latonia Moore played Aida as a naive and reluctant revolutionary who, at the same time, had Egyptian warrior Radames (Italian tenor Walter Fraccaro) wrapped round her little finger.

Aida’s love rival and daughter of Egyptian ruler Pharoah, Amneris (Serbian mezzo-soprano Milijana Nikolic), went from superwitch to spurned lover as she resigned herself to Aida winning in Radames’ love and life and death.

This production of Aida has everything you want in an opera - drama, a love triangle, betrayal, intrigue, a trial and death

Opera Australia artistic director Lyndon Terracini

Almost 100 actors, 50 musicians from the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, 300 African-inspired costumes and an 18-metre tall, 15-tonne sculpture of Queen Nefertiti added a Hollywood dimension to a dream show.

As Opera Australia’s artistic director Lyndon Terracini said: “This production of Aida has everything you want in an opera - fantastic music, dazzling performances from some of the world’s finest singers, an outstanding orchestra and a jaw-dropping set design.

“Plus a storyline that will have people on the edge of their seats, with drama, a love triangle, betrayal, intrigue, a trial and death - Aida has it all.”

Review by Winston Brown