The joint venture between Opera Australia and The John Frost Organisation to mount the multiple Tony Award winning Bartlett Sher production of SOUTH PACIIC may not be a one off project.
The coming together of Australia’s largest performing arts company – Opera Australia, with Australia’s largest commercial theatrical producer, John Frost provides an opportunity for further forays into musical theatre with productions of some of the finest works in the genre in future years.
Opera Australia is looking closely at musicals by Rodgers and Hammerstein in particular CAROUSEL, Lerner and Lowes’ BRIGADOON and CAMELOT, and Gerswin’s PORGY AND BESS. KISS ME KATE was also under discussion a few years ago.
Light musical theatre has been a feature of Opera Australia for many seasons, including operetta by Strauss, Lehar, Kallman, Offenbach and Gilbert and Sullivan, Jerry bock (FIDLER ON THE ROOF), Stephen Sondheim with SWEENEY TODD and A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC, and Lerner and Lowes’ MY FAIR LADY.
However, Opera Insider recalls the commercial arm of the Victorian State Opera which specialised in highly successfully musicals, successfully staged by a separate financial arm of the company, until revenues fell against increasing cost and contributed to the unfortunate demise of the Victorian State Opera.
While such a venture sounds appropriate initially, considerable commercial expertise will have to be brought to bare to ensure reduced financial risk, and also not to alienate the subscriber base for opera.