Life-sized puppets feature in a magical take on The Sleeping Beauty

Victorian-Opera-The-Sleeping-Beauty-photo-by-©-Charlie-KinrossFeaturing 27 life-sized puppets, Victorian Opera remounts its enchanting production of Ottorino Respighi’s The Sleeping Beauty to open its 2021 Season at St Kilda’s Palais Theatre from 20 February.

Victorian Opera’s production of this timeless fairy tale reimagines the story with playfulness and charm. Awakened by the imagination of director Nancy Black (Black Hole Theatre), singers and puppeteers gather on stage as a community reeling from tragedy to share a story of hope.

“Respighi uses The Sleeping Beauty to remind us all how vulnerable we are and that, try though we might, we cannot prevent certain catastrophes. Recovery is not only possible, but it draws upon the strengths we have known forever: hope, love, humour and persistence,” says Director, Nancy Black.

“This production presents a community in mourning who choose, as mankind has done since the evolution of language, to tell themselves a story that will assure a way out from their grief. It is funny as well as sad, contemporary and classical, the past and future meet and find a new way forward. Love makes everything possible. Of course! Wholly relevant in 1921, it is doubly so now!”

One hundred years after it was written, Respighi’s opera The Sleeping Beauty (La Bella dormente nel Bosco) finds extraordinary contemporary resonance in a world once again at its knees.

As Europe emerged from the horrors of WWI and the devastation of the Spanish Flu, from which the composer suffered a mild case, Respighi delivered an opera sparkling with joy, resilience and wit.

Premiering in 1922, the original opera was created for Vittorio Podrecca’s famed puppet company I Piccoli, featuring marionette puppets on stage with singers performing alongside the orchestra in the pit. In Victorian Opera’s production, marionettes are replaced with spectacularly realised life-sized puppets.

Victorian Opera’s Head of Music Phoebe Briggs (Lorelei, Black Rider) conducts Orchestra Victoria and a cast of talented local singers, including Georgia Wilkinson, Dimity Shepherd, Liane Keegan, Stephen Marsh and Carlos Bárcenas.

“From the opening of Respighi’s opera, it’s clear that we’re in for a treat,” says Briggs. “The beautiful score is full of delightful moments of humour, pathos, joy and hope. The orchestration is lush and full of colour and the singers and puppeteers are glorious. A joyous night in the theatre!

An opera that will enchant audiences of any age, Respighi’s The Sleeping Beauty invites you to reawaken your senses

The Sleeping Beauty
Palais Theatre, Lower Esplanade, St Kilda
Season: 20 – 26 February 2021
Information and Bookings:

Image: Victorian Opera’s The Sleeping Beauty – photo by Charlie Kinross