WA Opera launches Barber of Seville to full capacity at His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth


WA baritone James Clayton is Figaro.

A forced return from COVID-encumbered Europe has tipped an artist well versed in stern, steely roles into Rossini’s jack-of-all-trades as smoothly as Figaro works his trickster ways with the counts and dons who should know better.

From an entrance that flouted all theatrical convention, Clayton took over West Australian Opera’s rendition of The Barber of Seville with boisterous bravura and bonhomie.

His aria, Largo Al Factotum, was a blur of gesture and vocal quality, hitting every bit of “black on page”, as he calls it, and lighting up the auditorium.

That he was backed by excellence in the other roles made this production, developed by Queensland, Seattle and New Zealand operas, a breath of fresh air in a world starved of theatrical extravaganza.

Michael Petruccelli and Brigitte Heuser in The Barber of Seville.
Camera IconMichael Petruccelli and Brigitte Heuser in The Barber of Seville. Credit: James Rogers

Brigitte Heuser, as the lovelorn Rosina, combined pyjamas and peignoir with aplomb for her entrance, Una Voce Poco Fa (There’s a Voice that I Enshrine).

Sweet-as from the start, she also showed steel in the gritty determination of the lyric – “If rubbed the wrong way I’ll become a viper”.

She was complemented by Michael Petruccelli as Count Almaviva, Rosina’s willing love interest and Figaro’s easily led client, with a warm and tender introduction in his serenade, Ecco Ridente in Cielo – all while mounted on airstairs and accompanied by an onstage mariachi band of male choristers.

On the darker side of the ledger, Robert Hofmann as Don Basilio rang out La Calumnia, the invocation of innuendo, with all the timing and expression of a seasoned musical theatre aficionado.

His guile gunned up Warwick Fyfe as Dr Bartolo, Rosina’s guardian and would-be seducer, a picture of pantomime pomposity and rich timbre; a blend of menace and mirth worthy of Gilbert and Sullivan.

Add in Naomi Johns as Berta, the housekeeper, and Brendan Hanson as the servant Ambrogio, and the household took on shades of the Addams family.

Indeed the whole show, under revival director Jason Barry-Smith, was a paean to pastiche, which Clayton aptly described as “cartoonish”; style, era and genre mixed and matched, and more than one nod to COVID.

James Clayton and Michael Petruccelli in The Barber of Seville.
Camera IconJames Clayton and Michael Petruccelli in The Barber of Seville. Credit: James Rogers

From the opening notes of the overture the stage became a series of portals: with more doors and windows than an Advent calendar in all colours of the rainbow, in and out of which cast and chorus ran enough plotlines for a whole series of Looney Tunes, rather than the one episode starring Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd that riffs off Rossini’s score.

Slapstick was never far away, keeping pathos at bay; though Heuser and Johns each had a moment before the chaotic comedy returned.

Burhan Guner, conducting from the pit for the first time, kept the measure with an A-team of WA Symphony Orchestra musicians, occasionally tested by the sheer vibrant energy.

The fact no one tumbled was perhaps credit to rehearsal choreographer Margaret Helgeby Chaney.

Set and costumes by Tracy Grant Lord and lighting by Matthew Marshall put the icing on a cake of many layers, with wit the bright cherry on top.

Finale of The Barber of Seville at His Majesty’s Theatre.
Camera IconFinale of The Barber of Seville at His Majesty’s Theatre. Credit: James Rogers

Act One closed in an ensemble display that was part-dream, part-dance macabre, the principals withdrawing to cluster around Bartolo’s armchair, singing softly over the chorus with light on their faces as if they had just tuned into the telly.

And the Act Two finale was a riot of colour and movement where everyone seemed to get their wish, with a delicious reveal: Clayton pairing up in the dance with chorister Prudence Sanders – his co-star when The Marriage of Figaro comes around later this year.



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Fremantle Dockers snatch victory from the Adelaide Crows in Perth; AFL 2021


Mark Ricciuto of the Crows is tackled by Peter Bell of the Dockers.Credit:Getty Images

“I had a lot of things going through my head. I just wanted to kick the goal and I did. It’s a great feeling.”

Under Chris Connolly, Fremantle has now played in five matches decided by less than a goal, the Dockers winning four of them.

After the match, Connolly was quick to sing the praises of Farmer.

“That’s basically what he was recruited to do,” Connolly said of Farmer’s contribution to the Dockers’ 10th win of the year.

“He creates a lot of goals and makes the opposition really reactive.”

The goal brought a huge roar from the crowd of 31,225 and with only one minute 23 seconds to play the Dockers were able to hold on to claim victory, 13.13 (91) to 13.12 (90).

Farmer, whose four goals for the match equalled Brett Burton’s contribution for the Crows, was again a hero.

But it has not always been the case for the talented sharpshooter since the the Dockers brought him home from Melbourne on a big contract at the end of 2001.

He has had to carry a huge weight of expectation among Dockers’ supporters.

Tyson Edwards of the Crows and Jeff Farmer of the Dockers competes for the ball.

Tyson Edwards of the Crows and Jeff Farmer of the Dockers competes for the ball.Credit:Getty Images

After yesterday’s nailbiter, Adelaide coach Gary Ayres said he was disappointed that his team has thrown away a chance to grab second spot on the ladder.

“It is a game of inches,” said Ayres.

“As far as the close ones go we can’t get over the line.”

He was disappointed with his side’s delivery into the forward line and said there were no excuses despite the withdrawal of Wayne Carey (knee), Scott Welsh (back) and Kris Massie (hip).

“We gave ourselves more than ample opportunity to win the game today, but it was just a case of, right across the board in the second quarter . . . you can allow a team eight goals to two,” Ayres said. “Our ineffectiveness in our delivery inside our forward line today was as poor as I have seen for some time.”

Ayres expected the injured trio to be available for next Sunday’s match against St Kilda at AAMI Stadium.

The Dockers have equalled their best season – 10 wins under Gerard Neesham in 1997 – and are now two wins away from a first finals spot.

In the last six rounds they play Sydney, Richmond, Kangaroos, the Western Bulldogs, Essendon and West Coast. “You can’t underestimate any of the six teams we have got ahead,” Connolly said.

“I think the Western Bulldogs had a convincing win today and Richmond will get back on the scoreboard at some stage. And the other teams are in the eight.

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“It is a tough six games and we are going to find out a lot about our playing squad as the weeks unfold.”

TIME-ON

FREMANTLE

2.1 10.4 10.9 13.13 (91)

ADELAIDE

5.5 7.5 11.11 13.12 (90)

GOALS

Fremantle: Farmer 4, J Longmuir 3, Carr 3, Headland, Simmonds, Medhurst.

Adelaide: Burton 4, Burns, Rutten 3, McLeod 2, I Perrie

BEST

Fremantle: Bell, McPharlin, Pavlich, Farmer, Hasleby, Simmonds

Adelaide: Riccuito, McLeod, Burton, Ladhams, Burns, Clarke

INJURIES

Adelaide: Shirley (neck).

UMPIRES

McBurney, Ellis, Jeffery

CROWD

31,225 at Subiaco Oval.

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Protestors in Perth call for change three decades after report into Aboriginal deaths in custody




Attendees called on governments to do more.

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Scott Morrison wants overseas vaccination travel plan


Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is urgently asking medical experts to formulate a plan on how vaccinated Aussies can travel overseas and skip hotel quarantine upon return.

The PM said the country’s “main goal” was vaccinating the most vulnerable parts of the population, but said an international travel plan was “what I’d like to see happen next”.

“This is what I’ve tasked the medical experts with, is ensuring that we can know when an Australian is vaccinated here with their two doses, is able to travel overseas and return without having to go through hotel quarantine,” he told 6PR Perth Radio.

“I think we’re still some time away from that. The states, at this stage, I’m sure wouldn’t be agreeing to relaxing those hotel quarantine arrangements for those circumstances at this point in time.

“But what we need to know from the health advisers is what does make that safe and what does make that possible.”

Mr Morrison warned reopening the international borders now could result in more than 1000 cases of coronavirus a week.

“Vaccinations are not a silver bullet. We’ve never said they are,” he said.

“Australians have become very used to the fact … of having zero case numbers and zero community transmission.

“I don’t think Australians … would welcome restrictions and closures and borders shutting and all of those things, again, out of states concerned about the rising numbers of case numbers.

“So everyone needs to get on the same page with that. And so they’re the important threshold issues we’ve got to work together through as a national cabinet.

“And that’s why I’m calling them back together again to work on that same operational tempo that we were during the pandemic, because these are the challenges we need to solve together now.”

Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton backed the PM’s plan and said he hoped for a home quarantine setup for vaccinated Aussie travellers “soon rather than later”.

“As quickly as we can and as the Prime Minister pointed out, if people have had properly recognised the vaccine, if they are living in London or the United States or anywhere else in the world and they want to come back home and see family or see their grandparents, bring their newborn grandchild back home, then we want to facilitate that as quickly as possible,” he told the Today show on Friday morning.

“But we just need to do it in a safe way.

“And if we are having a situation where people are coming back and bringing the virus back with them, then we will see community transmission – So again it is trying to get that balance right.

“But if we can get people away from hotel quarantine into home quarantine and people do the right thing, then you can scale up the numbers obviously much more significantly than if we are just relying on hotels.”

But Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese said Australians should have been home already.

“There are more than 40,000 Australians still stranded overseas,” Mr Albanese said.

“Scott Morrison said that Australians would be home by Christmas; that‘s Christmas 2020.”

Australia slammed its borders shut in March last year when the global coronavirus pandemic first began to unravel.

Just two weeks ago, Australia entered into an agreement with New Zealand allowing travel between the two countries.

Mr Morrison hinted at a travel bubble agreement with more countries ahead of the trans-Tasman travel arrangement’s official start on April 19.

“I think I can see a future where we could be in a similar arrangement with Singapore and we’re working on that now,” he said.

“Other Pacific countries, that’s possible. But when you’re talking about countries, you know, for example, like Indonesia or India or Papua New Guinea or countries where we know that the virus is in a very strong form, including in Europe and even still the United Kingdom, the United States. Australians, I don’t think would welcome the incursion of the virus into the country. So we have to weigh all of that up.”

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Rottnest Island accommodation already sold out for Christmas 2021


When it comes to island escapes, Australia really is spoiled for choice.

From Fraser to Lord Howe, Norfolk and even the luxurious offerings at Lizard Island, there’s no budget that hasn’t been accounted for.

But one island off the coast of Western Australia has proven so popular amid the pandemic you won’t even be able to get a spot for the busy Christmas period eight months away.

Rottnest Island, home to the super cute quokka and surrounded by crystal clear waters, has had almost every camp site, bungalow and cabin sold out for the busy festive season.

RELATED: Inside Richard Branson’s lush $21,000-per-night island

RELATED: Five things travellers should do when booking a hotel

Quokka paradise an easy ferry ride away

The island, just 8km off the WA coast, is not only a popular place to stay overnight – day-trippers love it as well.

Typically, a visit to the island takes just 25 minutes on a ferry from Fremantle, 45 minutes from Hillarys Boat Harbour in the northern suburbs of Perth, or 90 minutes via a ferry from Perth’s Barrack Street Jetty.

With over 63 beaches across the island, the attraction of calm and clear waters is an easy sell.

Rottnest’s most popular activities include swimming, snorkelling, diving and fishing, as well as whale watching cruises and even skydiving sessions.

RELATED: Aussie gem you probably drove straight past

Surge in bookings across Western Australia

While the island always experiences high demand during the peak season of Christmas, this coming festive period saw more bookings than normal.

Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the week of December 27 to 31 were all booked and paid for by travellers, with the official booking authority listing May 3, 2021 as the next available date to book accommodation for New Year’s Eve.

Since Western Australia’s borders opened to other states and territories, various regions including the Margaret River and Broome have experienced a surge in enquiries and subsequent bookings.

Speaking to PerthNow, Seashells hotel general manager Deb Williams said that their hotel in Broome was fully booked until the end of the year.

“The last couple of months have been way busier than usual and we’re very full from now all the way to the end of school holidays in October,” she said.

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The Pink House co-owners Britney Lee and Sarah Beydoun on launching Leederville beauty hub


Beauty hub The Pink House is paving the way for the future of bricks-and-mortar shops.

Co-owners Britney Lee and Sarah Beydoun launched the Leederville collective two years ago with a dream to make getting into business less “daunting”.

After establishing their own businesses in their late teens, they wanted to support others starting out without having to jump through all the hoops they had to.

“Working as a small business beforehand, and having bigger shops, bigger outgoings, all that kind of stuff, it only made sense to downsize to more of a boutique style,” Lee told AAA.

They opened last year and have beauty, jewellery and retail under one roof.
Camera IconThey opened last year and have beauty, jewellery and retail under one roof. Credit: Michael Wilson

“We both had the same dream of creating a space — a beauty hub — that could push the other small businesses to start something that they were maybe too scared of because rent is so expensive.”

Taking up shop in a converted house, the space is home to seven businesses and has expanded from nails, hair and lashes to include spa therapy, jewellery, homewares and alterations.

After last year’s shutdowns, they also launched a retail space to establish a digital presence and compete with online retailers.

Britney Lee and Sarah Beydoun run The Pink House, a collective space for different businesses under the same roof.
Camera IconBritney Lee and Sarah Beydoun run The Pink House, a collective space for different businesses under the same roof. Credit: Michael Wilson

“From the get-go, everyone that’s come into this space, their businesses have just boomed,” Beydoun said.

“Sharing the costs is a huge bonus, so I think it’s the way moving forward,” Lee added.

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John Keene conducts & plays Bottesini with Fremantle Chamber Orchestra at Perth Town Hall & Freo Naval Store


A baton in one hand and a double bass in the other?

It makes an intriguing picture, but John Keene has something less athletic in mind when he conducts Fremantle Chamber Orchestra and plays Bottesini’s Concerto for Double Bass No.2 this weekend.

Keene, deputy principal double bass at WA Symphony Orchestra, presents works from the 18th through to the 20th centuries at Perth Town Hall on Saturday and Fremantle’s Naval Store on Sunday.

“The program features some not so well known, but incredibly uplifting and jovial ‘classical’ symphonies, as well as a wonderfully lavish and enthralling string piece by a 20th-century neo-Romantic composer Atterberg,” he says.

“Haydn’s 60th symphony is also one of his most comical works and is quite theatrical in performance.

John Keene Serge Koussevitzky’s Concerto for Double Bass with the Cygnus Arioso String Quartet at The Grove.
Camera IconJohn Keene Serge Koussevitzky’s Concerto for Double Bass with the Cygnus Arioso String Quartet at The Grove. Credit: Bohdan Warchomij

“I will conduct these works as a conductor properly from the podium, but for the Bottesini, I will be merely leading the group from the front with a few introductory gestures and then everything after that will operate as ‘chamber music’, where the musicians listen to the solo line and interact internally with each other.”

It’s a first for Keene conducting and playing a concerto, though last year he played Serge Koussevitzky’s Concerto for Double Bass with the Cygnus Arioso String Quartet at The Grove library.

He also conducted the debut performance by The Orchestra Collective at Government House, with Mozart’s Don Giovanni Overture and Flute Concerto No.1, followed by a head-turning rendition of Beethoven’s Symphony No.7.

This weekend’s program opens with the Symphony in D major by Beethoven’s contemporary Ignaz Pleyel, followed by the Bottesini. Atterberg’s Intermezzo then complements the Haydn symphony.

Perth Town Hall is a well known music venue but it is possibly the first time the Naval Store has hosted an orchestra as FCO’s regular venue, Fremantle Town Hall, is temporarily closed.

John Keene conducts The Orchestra Collective at Government House Ballroom.
Camera IconJohn Keene conducts The Orchestra Collective at Government House Ballroom.

“The Naval Store promises to have good acoustics and is big enough to socially distance,” Keene says.

“It started as a new arts space recently and I think this will be the first performance of classical music there.”

John Keene and Fremantle Chamber Orchestra are at Perth Town Hall on Saturday, April 10, at 3pm, and at Naval Store (corner Canning Highway and Victoria Street, Fremantle) on Sunday, April 11, at 3pm.

Tickets are available at the door (cash): adults, $40, concession $35, under-18, $20; or at Ticketek (charges apply): https://premier.ticketek.com.au/search/SearchResults.aspx?k=fco



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WA beaches, Blue Mountains, Great Barrier Reef, Top End


Australia has a worldwide reputation for our terrifying creatures and unforgiving landscape. While we like to think we’re braver and more resilient than anyone, there are plenty of dangers lurking in our big backyard we really should look out for.

That includes some hidden pitfalls in some of our favourite holiday spots.

As closed international borders mean Australians are heading off on domestic holidays with an enthusiasm we’ve never seen before, experts are warning holiday-makers to be aware of the risks.

According to communication technology company GME, there are 2000 people each year who have to be rescued by local emergency services, with many of those incidents occurring in holiday hot spots.

GME has compiled some of the more surprising spots that are considered danger zones, where tragedies have occurred or been recently averted – and what you need to look out for.

WA’S BEACHES

Now that Western Australia has softened its notoriously hard border, many of us are planning trips to experience that spectacular west coast.

WA is famous for its beautiful surf beaches but that beauty comes at a risk. While drowning rates fell by 8 per cent in the rest of Australia last year, drownings in WA rose by 14 per cent in the same period, according to the National Drowning Report 2020.

The report found with 57 per cent of drownings in the state happened outside the Perth metropolitan area, and that people were 3.8 times more likely to drown in the state’s regional beaches.

Two fishermen were dramatically rescued when their boat was battered by a massive wave and sank near Carnac Island, southwest of Fremantle, in April 2020.

As they clung to pieces of the sinking vessel, the men used their radio beacon to call for help, with Fremantle Water Police staging a dramatic helicopter rescue to bring them to safety.

NSW’S BLUE MOUNTAINS

It’s one of the top tourist destinations for visitors to Sydney, but the Blue Mountains is frequently a spot for hikers running into trouble.

Around 130 bushwalkers get lost and require rescuing in the Blue Mountains each year, according to NSW National Parks. And while most are found within 24 hours, the rugged national park – which covers more than a quarter of a million hectares – has often been a place of tragedy.

Authorities recommend those wishing to explore the Blue Mountains to take adequate supplies of food, water, navigation and first aid equipment; register their planned route and let friends and family know; use emergency beacons and stick to their planned route and walking tracks.

Earlier in March, authorities launched a large-scale operation to rescue two hikers who became stuck inside a canyon overnight at Mount Tomah, about 50km from Katoomba.

Police and ambulance rescue crews abseiled into the canyon to rescue the man, 41, and woman, 33, who were suffering minor injuries in “very cold conditions”.

THE TOP END

It’s one of the most special places in Australia – a vast and wondrous region, about 245,000sq km, and a must-see spot for Australian travellers and international foreign visitors alike.

But the Top End can be a treacherous place for those who aren’t prepared.

Top End’s official travel and information centre urges visitors to pack appropriate supplies if they’re on a walking track and to be aware of crocodiles if swimming in waterways.

According to the Top End Travel and Information Centre, all fatal crocodile attacks in the Northern Territory have occurred in waters outside designated swimming areas.

It urges tourists to swim only in areas with a sign designating it safe for swimming, as crocodiles are common throughout the region.

Sketchy network coverage in parts of the Top End can also be an added hazard should visitors run into trouble.

GREAT BARRIER REEF

From the glorious beaches to the world-famous reef, the Great Barrier Reef is another of our top tourism destinations but the area records about 300 maritime incidents each year, requiring the assistance of about 1460 volunteers from the Maritime Safety Queensland.

Many of those incidents occur in the tourist hot spots of Cairns, Mackay and Townsville.

In 2018, a boatie was left to float for hours in the water after his boat struck a whale and sank off Fraser Island.

The 42-year-old man made a distress call to authorities about 3am as his 8m boat began to sink, and he was brought to safety following a massive rescue involving Queensland Water Police and Volunteer Marine Rescue.

In a similar incident near Great Palm Island last year, a man was lucky to survive when a 6m boat carrying four people struck a whale, causing it to “spin around off course” and one of the passengers to be thrown overboard.

The man was reported to have suffered a broken arm and some internal bleeding but all passengers survived.

SYDNEY’S BEACHES

Sydney’s coastline is a mecca for locals and tourists from right around the world, and the city’s beaches draw about 10 million people a year. But they can also be treacherous, especially for those who are less familiar with the surf.

The risks apply to swimmers, surfers, fishers and others enjoying the spectacular coast.

In Surf Lifesaving NSW most recent coastal safety report, which captured the 2019/20 season, there were 49 coastal and ocean drowning deaths, with 45 per cent of drownings happening at the beach. Around a third of those drownings occurred during boating, 22 per cent swimming, and 16 per cent while rock fishing.

In the 12 months to June 30, 2020, surf lifesavers and lifeguards rescued 3178 people, treated 11,954 people for injuries or medical complaints, and performed 749,255 preventive actions, according to the report.

In May last year, two fishermen had to be winched to safety when their fishing boat sank 12km off Curl Curl beach in Sydney’s northern beaches.

Their boat’s bilge pump gave out but the pair managed to fire off an emergency beacon, and a rescue helicopter came to their aid as they clung to their sinking vessel.

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Virgin Australia 7-day flight sale for Sydney, Melbourne, Perth


Australians will be able to travel the country in style with Virgin dropping a massive sale spearheaded by the airline’s cheapest ever business class fares across more than 50 destinations.

The sale – which will last until March 29 unless sold out – will offer one-way business class fares from $279 and one-way economy flights from $67 to 52 locations.

Australians looking to travel on select dates between April 21 and December 15 will be able to fly business class between Sydney and Melbourne, Melbourne and Adelaide and Sydney and the Gold Coast for $279 one-way.

Economy fares also expected to be snapped up quickly, including $67 one-way fares between Sydney and the Gold Coast, Melbourne and Adelaide as well as Melbourne and Launceston.

Virgin Australia’s sale will be offered on top of the federal government’s travel scheme of 800,000 half-price fares on sale from April 1.

All fares include baggage, seat selection and free booking flexibility for travel until January 31.

A Virgin Australia spokesperson said the sale was designed to get Australians back in the skies now state border closures had been eased.

“Virgin Australia is committed to offering Australians irresistible airfares, and this sale is an example of how we are trying to help support the tourism economy, with 52 routes across the country on sale for the next week and fares from just $67,” a Virgin Australia spokesperson said.

“Along with a new and fresh business class menu which launches Thursday, guests can enjoy a seat at the pointy end with business class fares from a record low of just $279 between major destinations.

“We’re excited about the future of travel in Australia and so are Australians.”

On-sale one-way business class routes include:

  • Melbourne – Sydney from $279
  • Gold Coast – Sydney from $279
  • Adelaide – Melbourne from $279
  • Brisbane – Sydney from $329
  • Melbourne – Gold Coast from $329
  • Adelaide – Sydney from $399
  • Brisbane – Hamilton Island from $449
  • Sunshine Coast – Melbourne from $449
  • Brisbane – Perth from $849
  • Melbourne – Perth from $849

On-sale one-way economy class routes include:

  • Sydney – Gold Coast from $67
  • Melbourne – Adelaide from $67
  • Launceston – Melbourne from $79
  • Hobart – Melbourne from $89
  • Perth – Sydney from $189
  • Canberra – Brisbane from $135
  • Darwin – Brisbane from $179

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WASO plays Rodgers & Hammerstein with Jessica Gethin, Amy Lehpamer and Simon Gleeson at Perth Concert Hall


“Let us start at the very beginning,” Amy Lehpamer intoned to launch singalong favourite Do-Re-Mi from The Sound of Music, an emotional earworm for several generations in a packed Perth Concert Hall on Friday night.

Generations raised on the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical clapped, cheered, hollered and whistled on a gala night which broke a drought of live music and singing for many — not least Lehpamer.

The Victorian soprano brought vital enthusiasm to a program of time-honoured show numbers, paying a touching tribute to WA Symphony Orchestra and conductor Jessica Gethin.

The experience, she said, was “one of my favourite things” (cue music) after months of COVID curbs.

Gala nights can read like a hastily concocted shopping list, but this selection had form in following the timeline of Rodger & Hammerstein’s work, grouping numbers from six of their best-known musicals.

Scurrying strings opened the overture to Oklahoma! — familiar themes drifting over the auditorium like soothing balm.

It settled an effervescent audience whose excited chatter injected fairground energy to the hallowed hall.

Simon Gleeson sings The Best of Rodgers & Hammerstein with WA Symphony Orchestra and Jessica Gethin at Perth Concert Hall.
Camera IconSimon Gleeson sings The Best of Rodgers & Hammerstein with WA Symphony Orchestra and Jessica Gethin at Perth Concert Hall. Credit: Rebecca Mansell

WAAPA alumnus Simon Gleeson’s take on Oh, What a Beautiful Morning opened vistas to the cowboy west, the chorus rolling into view like an old friend.

Gethin was clearly having fun, easy-listening fare evoking ever-generous applause.

Lehpamer’s debut in I Cain’t Say No stepped up the engagement with warmth and charisma that transcended the #MeToo moment in the lyric.

Their duet in the show number, Oklahoma! — the one musical R&H wrote with an exclamation mark — filled the space, as did the band; brass especially exercised.

State Fair followed — Lehpamer inhabiting It Might As Well Be Spring, swooning through the ballad, “gay in a melancholy way”; Gleeson teeing up a rousing chorus to It’s A Grand Night For Singing.

Carousel came around next, the orchestra front and centre for the Waltz with the most nuanced symphonic sound yet; Gethin almost balletic in gesture to shape the music, the climax and finale drawing a well deserved ovation.

Soliloquy and If I Loved You showcased individual talents — with some intricate work in the orchestra to match Gleeson’s recitative; Lehpamer duetting in dreamy tones with lyrical woodwind and serene strings then rising to operatic heights to conclude the first half.

After the break it was South Pacific — towering chords in the ensemble summoning an ominous drum beat, warlike brass and horns a contrast to mellow strings.

A Wonderful Guy put Lehpamer back in the #MeToo spotlight — nonetheless sweetly sung — while Some Enchanted Evening evinced a hushed awe in Gleeson’s voice, and a glorious accompaniment in brass choir.

March of the Siamese Children, from The King and I, was a rich snack for orchestral buffs in complex development of a simple theme.

Amy Lehpamer and Simon Gleeson sing The Best of Rodgers & Hammerstein with WA Symphony Orchestra and Jessica Gethin at Perth Concert Hall.
Camera IconAmy Lehpamer and Simon Gleeson sing The Best of Rodgers & Hammerstein with WA Symphony Orchestra and Jessica Gethin at Perth Concert Hall. Credit: Rebecca Mansell

As if liberated from the Yankee twang of earlier shows, Lehpamer’s voice rang our full and clear in Getting To Know You — “suddenly I’m bright and breezy” — and the pair hit their straps in Shall We Dance? — a comic routine drawing the most raucous applause yet.

The Sound of Music rolled out with Edelweiss — Gleeson’s standout solo, easily besting the movie version — and My Favourite Things, Lehpamer channelling Julie Andrews in tone and diction before morphing to her own, more coquettish rendition.

After the singalong Do-Re-Mi, You’ll Never Walk Alone (Carousel) as encore turned the dial to footy stadium blitz before we all walked out into the night.



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