Gayle Blackmore Interviews International soprano and La Prima Opera founder Alison Jones

OPERA AT MEMO is La Prima Opera’s post-lockdown incarnation of a decade’s presentation of high-end popular opera shows in non-traditional spaces in Melbourne. It follows sold out performances like Opera in the Laneway, Opera in the Spiegeltent, Opera at the Paris Cat, Opera in the Warehouse, Opera at Ruby’s, Opera in the Barrel Room and Opera in the Docklands.

International soprano and La Prima Opera founder Alison Jones witnessed the impact of opera in an unexpected space having starred in world acclaimed Australian director Elijah Moshinsky’s season of Benjamin Britten’s haunting ‘Turn of the Screw’ at Wilton’s Music Hall in London.

“It was the hottest ticket in town and brought non opera goers from local East Enders to actors like Monty Python’s Michael Palin together,” said Jones. “Barriers are removed when you aren’t grappling with the formality of a traditional Opera House – the audience can relax and share the magic like they would at their favourite gig.” “It seems fitting to go from London’s oldest music hall to Melbourne’s hidden gem, MEMO Music Hall,” said Jones.

Alison is joined by mezzo soprano Caroline Vercoe who spent 15 years at the Sydney Opera House with Opera Australia and is a Valkyrie in Melbourne Opera’s much anticipated Wagner’s ‘Die Walküre’; and tenor Jason Wasley (Glyndebourne Opera, Opera Australia) who appeared as Old Deuteronomy in the Australia/NZ tour of ‘Cats’. Popular compere and narrator Chris Mckenna injects fun into the evening.

Alison is also thrilled to introduce the La Prima String Quartet – Matt Hassall and Lucy Warren on violin, Tom Higham playing the viola and Alexandra Partridge on cello. Led by Matt, the quartet are young gun players with Orchestra Victoria, performing in Opera, Music Theatre, Ballet and with touring artists.

Opera at MEMO is the Greatest Hits of Opera. So even if you’ve never stepped foot in an opera house, these songs are a backdrop to contemporary life. Familiar from movies, TV series, advertisements, sporting events, and even cartoons, including the spine-tingling Nessun Dorma from ‘Turandot’ (Soccer World Cup theme) to the heart-melting Flower Duet from ‘Lakmé’ (British Airways Advertisement) there’s a lot to excite any taste.

Opera at MEMO

MEMO Music Hall

88 Acland Street

St Kilda

Tuesday, December 21 at 7pm

Tickets $40 – $50


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