Australian composer, John Haddock’s opera, Madeline Lee premiered with Opera Australia in 2004. Last week it closed the first season of Lost Operas of Oz, a new project of State Opera South Australia. After a two-week rehearsal period, two performances were given in the company’s Studio. Madeline Lee is a triumphant success, vindication of SOSA Artistic Director Stuart Maunder’s determination to exhume Australian operas of the recent past.
Hancock Artists’ Warwick Fyfe, heldenbariton and Warwick Stengards, conductor received glowing reviews for their work.
Warwick Stengårds conducted from the sidelines, his clear, unfussy direction along with a palpable enthusiasm for the score at hand never waning.
The stand-out performance came from Warwick Fyfe, re-visiting the baritone role of The Major created by Michael Lewis in 2004. Fyfe mesmerised the audience with his big, blustering voice and stage presence. There were few moments of repose here, particularly in his two gripping arias. In the first act, he commanded – literally! – the stage for nigh on 20 minutes. His second act aria, even more demented and compelling this time, was as powerful as anything I have seen on stage in Australia, recalling memories of Teddy Tahu Rhodes in Neil Armfield’s 2008 production of Billy Budd.
To read the full review in Limelight Magazine click here