Aria Moderna magnifico

Aria Moderna (Little Black Dress Creatives)

I can’t say I’m a huge opera fan; I went to one in Madrid once, but I still don’t know what it was about. I think it is because of my need for a narrative. “Aria Moderna” has no story as such, but, rather, interesting little snippet-sized vignettes of emotion, which makes it a wonderful operatic show for those who don’t necessarily like opera.

Emerging as they do, like angels, enrobed in white against a background bathed in blue, Alicia Cush, Bethan Ellsmore and Jade Moffat enthral the audience from their very first notes. Their powerful voices soar through the Brisbane Powerhouse from the Turbine Platform stage; however, things do not always serene. At times, their performances are almost anguished with emotion; such is the show’s unique blend of opera with aspects of physical theatre. Indeed, the mood ranges from the ethereal to the Burton-esque (complete with wide eyes and bouffant hair) as it presents classical repertoire and vocal techniques in a creative, contemporary context. This is opera for a digital generation, where electronica music (of the dubstep kind) and bold lighting are impressively utilised in contribution to a transfixing overall aesthetic. The performers literally become part of the lighting landscape, which is rich and deep in its riots of red, flashes of fire and tranquil forest fields.

“Aria Moderna” is a captivating work that defies genre convention. In its combination of electro-opera and urban projection art, it is sometimes sublime, often edgy and entirely engaging. And it simply has to be seen, if only to prove that opera can be inventive and unconventional. If you like beautiful things, then The Little Black Dress Creatives have created a show for you.

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You can find all of my Anywhere Theatre Festival reviews on the Festival website.

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