Galatos, Auckland

05/03/2013 - 08/02/2013

Auckland Fringe 2013

Production Details


Oh! is for Opera is a quick paced, satirical journey; a rewrite of operatic history that highlights the absurd, ridiculous, fun, and naughty nature of opera. Men dressed as women dressed as men, orgies, tantric love triangles and plot twists more confusing than Days of our Lives. Live at Galatos, March 5-8, Oh! is for Opera is an adults-only education on the subtleties of what many believe is a dying art form.

After the success of their sold-out 2011 Auckland Fringe debut, Opéra Risqué is back with a revue show based on operatic absurdity – Castrati and pants-roles and phantoms, Oh My! If you think opera is only for the old, these ladies are here to prove you wrong.

Starring a cast of some of New Zealand’s finest young opera talent, cherry-picked for their dulcet tones as well as their bangin’ bods and accompanied by a live band. Cast includes Jessie Graham and Tamsyn Matchett who were last seen singing for Charles (that’s Prince Charles) and Cassandra McCowan, a current soloist for this year’s Christmas in the Park.

Come explore the naughty nature of this art form with a bit of tease and not too much sleaze.

“Wonderful, thoroughly entertaining…Sexy, fun, engaging and professional.” – Te Oti Rakena, Head of Voice, University of Auckland

“The audience was treated to a trip round the world of broken-hearted beauties.” – Theatre scenes

Auckland Fringe runs from 15 February to 10 March 2013. For more Auckland Fringe information go to www.aucklandfringe.co.nz

OH! IS FOR OPERA plays March 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th – 8pm
Galatos, 17 Galatos St, Auckland
Show Duration: 90min
Tickets: $25, $20 concession *service fee may apply
Book tickets through www.iticket.co.nz 

1hr 30min

A naughty night at the opera

Review by Glen Pickering 06th Mar 2013

Ever thought the history of opera sounded a bit boring? Would it appeal more if it were told in an irreverent and funny manner, with immodestly dressed attractive young women? 

The full house at the opening night of Oh! Is for Opera would seem to suggest the answer is a resounding yes! 

This is Opéra Risqué’s second Auckland Fringe Festival, performing what it calls “a review show based on operatic absurdity”. It takes us through a brief history of some of opera’s most popular composers and arias, often placing them in a completely different context. This beginner’s guide to opera helps debunk the myth that opera is boring and for old people.  

The venue, Galatos, has a dark, sexy, sinful feel to it and Opéra Risqué uses this to good effect. There are tables and chairs scattered throughout the room. The stage is dressed like an intimate French cabaret club, with antique chairs and a threefold screen, all back-dropped with a red velvet curtain.

Tarver Graham plays the club owner, a Frenchmen with a roguish grin and wayward hands, who links the show together. He does extremely well breaking up the arias with engaging commentary, well-crafted wit and timely introductions that keep the pace of the show driving along. 

The cast all have their strengths and each gets their turn to shine. Cassandra McCowan’s ‘Un Voce Poco Fa’ is hilariously orgasmic. Tizane McEvoy and Elizabeth Mandenos, dressed as sheep, mock the repetitiveness of ‘Happy We’. Tamsyn Machett’s sultry dominatrix in ‘Mon Coeur S’ouvre a Ta Voix’ is terrifyingly seductive. Milla Dickens plays an Australian chick with like, totally, now, like, surtitles to ‘Quando m’en vo’. And Jessie Graham’s ‘When I Am Laid’ is tragic and beautiful.

Interestingly Opéra Risqué reach true operatic absurdity with no music at all but with a melodramatic, child like telling of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. It is acted out with plastic swords, still walks and everyone playing multiple characters with great humour and gusto.

The band, made up of two keyboards and a cello, are all fine musicians. The focus is clearly on the singers and so the band often acts more as an accompaniment than a feature in its own right. Not surprisingly, the times it does shine are when the orchestration is simple such as the solo cello in ‘Una Macchia’ or when they keys are used as a harpsichord.  

There is something for everyone to enjoy in this show. Even the most diehard opera purists would be glad that young people are endeavouring to prove that opera is not a dying art form. The risqué state of dress is tasteful, artistic and beautifully handled. Actually there are more wonderful costumes to behold than nudity.

If you feel like a night at the theatre with some of the greatest music ever written, comedy and a bit of naughtiness then this is the show for you.


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