The Riders (4 stars)

Review by Elli Gemmo

WA Opera opens its 2016 season at His Majesty’s Theatre with  modern masterpiece, The Riders – adapted for the stage from the novel by prominent Western Australian author, Tim Winton.

An essential stage is where the story of Scully and his daughter Billie takes place. Scully is building a new home for his family in Ireland and he’s waiting for his wife, Jennifer and beloved daughter Billie to join him and start a new life outside Perth. Yet, Jennifer disappears, leaving a desperate Scully with nothing else but the thought of finding her.

Translating a novel into a different media is always difficult and risky. This time though, composer Iain Grandage  and librettist Alison Croggon, completely nail it – arranging a wonderful masterpiece.

The final result is a contemporary Australian psychological thriller, with great music  that perfectly reflects the drama and great acting and vocal performances on offer. An honorable mention goes to the bright talent of Rosanna Radici as Billie – she not only finds her way through the public attention but is also able to perform with true pathos without singing. Her performance is something you will not forget soon. Also, the choice of having a simple stage with small changes between different scenes and acts help to focus on the story rather than being distracted from useless particulars.

Jennifer’s ghost-like appearances reinforce how haunted Scully truly is by her disappearance and betrayal. This choice helps to identify and better understand what Scully and Billie are going through becoming an important feature when it comes to judge fluency and coherence of the plot.

Life rides dramatically inside this opera offering deep reflections about life itself, love, family, and leaves the audience with something to think about. This masterpiece of contemporary Australian opera shouldn’t be missed.

When: 13th – 16th April 2016 (7:30pm)

Where: His Majesty’s Theatre, PERTH

Tickets: Premium $175; A reserve – Adult $150, Concession $145, Under 30 $140; B reserve – Adult $95, Concession $90, Under 30 $85; C reserve – Adult $45, Concession $42, Under 30 $40

Info: Duration 90 minutes, no interval; wheelchair accessible; suitable all ages


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