Lazy Luddite Log


Grimm And The Blue Crown Owl

On the weekend I saw the 'gothic' opera Grimm And The Blue Crown Owl at Street Theatre. I saw it because it was performed by Australian National University (ANU) opera students of which Petra is one and I am happy I saw it because it was original and engaging.

The music and story were written by one of the opera students. It was refreshing to see something new in what I think of as an old-world art-form. It was also nice that it was sung in English which surely made the convoluted plot a bit more transparent. Mind you I expected to understand more of it but forgot that sung dialogue is more difficult to understand than spoken word (hence all those wonderful and amusing misunderstandings of pop music lyrics).

Still someone reminded me that convoluted and inane story is a part of the opera territory and one goes more for the music. And the music was awesome. I lack the terminology but the music was a 'modern' if still tuneful brand of orchestral music performed by a very together chamber orchestra and sung by the keen and talented opera students. They both sung and acted well and even those lacking key roles still put in some fantastic body acting of movement and gesture (gotta love scurrying like a rat).

I enjoyed the costumes which utilised a combination of purpose-made items and existing clothing in a very economical and effective way. A ruffled shirt would provide the chest of an anthropomorphic owl while a black leather jacket would do the same thing for the wings of a bat. The 'mad scientist' lab rats were almost Gigeresque with those exposed skulls and spines. The wise storks (of which Petra was one) were elegant in kimonos and waving wing-like fans.

The audience was packed, and I suspect this had something to do with the fact that the story had a contemporary setting, while still resonating with fairy tale themes. We got a mix of tragedy and romance with a smattering of comic moments and it was all good value. I also got to go to an after-party which is always a fun thing to do.



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