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'Pre'- Modern Musical Theatre

Rodgers and Hammerstein? Lerner and Loewe? Cole Porter? Andrew Lloyd Webber? Even Lennon & McCartney?

Try Verdi, Mascagni, Mozart, Gilbert & Sullivan. Because without the latter, chances are we would never have had the former.

The opera of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries were the musical theatre of the times. All the traditions, motifs, themes and musical developments which were established during the era of opera and operetta have come down to the 20th and 21st centuries, and provide a huge part of the musical fund from which modern musicals have been able to draw their inspiration, format and structures.

The songs chosen for inclusion in Oriana’s current ‘production’, “G&S and Opera Choruses: Songs You Will Know and Love”, are the operatic equivalents of big ‘production numbers’ from the likes of “Oklahoma”, “Camelot” and “Kiss Me Kate”, with soloists, chorus and orchestra all contributing to the impact that each song is meant to have. (In this instance, for ‘orchestra’ read ‘piano’; but Fay Baker plays with such passion and commitment that it feels like an orchestral accompaniment anyway!)

“Brindisi” has the gusto of “Get Me To the Church On Time”; “Anvil Chorus” is stirring in a similar way to say, “There Is Nothing Like a Dame”; and “Dance A Cachuca” has all the energy and fire (and then some) of Lloyd-Webber’s “Superstar”.

“G&S and Opera Choruses: Songs You Will Know and Love”, means exactly what it says.

Caloundra Uniting Church, Queen St: Saturday 14th Dec

Buderim War Memorial Hall, 1 Main St: Sunday 15th Dec

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