Cape Town Opera and the UCT Opera School will present the restaging of Rossini’s zany comic opera ‘Il Viaggio a Reims’ (The Journey to Reims) from Tuesday to Saturday, August 26 to 30, for five performances only as the show returns to the Baxter Theatre where it played to full houses and received positive reviews and standing ovations in 2010.
Matthew Wild will be re-staging the opera, which offers big challenges for the young director. He has chosen to focus on the obsessions, the shortcomings and the whims of a diverse group of European nobles. “Every one of the characters suffers from an extreme obsession. They obsess, they flirt, they fight, they panic, they faint, they drink, they swap partners and they pose for the cameras. It’s a small leap to connect Rossini’s lovable but self-indulgent nobles with the film stars, hip hop artists, sports celebs, politicians and reality TV stars who fill the pages of celebrity magazines with similar antics, and who may be glimpsed hovering around the press cameras of inaugurations, displaying political views as trendy as their Jimmy Choos,” says Wild. “As well as the 14 lead characters (and some smaller ones) there is a chorus of 28 which means that sometimes there are over 40 people on the stage. My approach for the chorus is to keep it very stylised. Our stage will be an open, minimalist, all-purpose area in the airport in which we will be making a lot of use of signage rather than attempting to create a realistic airport,” adds the director.
The multi-talented cast comprises of members of the Cape Town Opera Studio and students from the UCT Opera School. Their enthusiastic portrayals of a group of colourful B-list European celebrities waiting for the departure of a charter jet bound for the inauguration of the new French president in Reims is sure to resonate with local opera buffs.
* Tickets are priced at R140 and R190. There is a dinner and opera combo priced at R200 for Wednesday and Thursday. Book at Computicket.
For more information, visit www.capetownopera.co.za.