This diverse operatic cabaret redefines the seductress female character.
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"If any one unwarily draws in too close and hears the singing of the Sirens, his wife and his children will never welcome him home again, for they sit in a green field and warble him to death with the sweetness of their song."
With The Odyssey, Homer essentially created the epic. But with the above passage, he also created something much more insidious — the femme fatale, a stock female character who tempts men with the ultimate goal of destroying them.
Victorian Opera's latest project, Lorelei, shoves a cabaret skewer through this idea and roasts it over an operatic blaze. Sopranos Ali McGregor and Antoinette Halloran with mezzo-soprano Dimity Shepherd have been spicing up the classics for a while as the Opera Burlesque collective. Now, they take to a cliff-top on a tricky bend in the river Rhine to explore how women are represented in literature and opera. But wouldn't you know it — just as they're getting down to business, a ship begins to approach. And it seems to be having a little trouble on those bends.
Part cabaret, part opera and with a stinging libretto by Casey Bennetto (Keating! The Musical) and Gillian Cosgriff (8 Songs in 8 Weeks), Lorelei takes its cues from the sirens of German folklore. It's happy enough to toy with the trope — but it's not going to stop until it's smashed to matchsticks on a rock.
Lorelei will run from November 3–10 at The Coopers Malthouse, Merlyn Theatre. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Victorian Opera website.