Well before Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale was turned into a TV series, it was transformed into an opera. And this October, the show will make its Australian premiere as part of the inaugural Yarra Valley Opera Festival.
Among the historical buildings and landscaped gardens of Olinda Yarra farm, you'll experience Offred's story taken to new dramatic heights, thanks to Melbourne-based opera company Gertrude Opera. The work was originally created by Danish composer Poul Ruders and librettist Paul Bentley and, since premiering in Denmark in 2000, The Handmaid's Tale opera has appeared in the UK, the US and Canada. We can safely say there will be no Talking Heads in this version.
If you don't yet know the story by way of your high school reading list or SBS On Demand, here's the gist: a handmaid, Offred is sent to a barren household, where, once a month, she is forcibly inseminated in the expectation that she'll bear a child for The Commander, Fred Waterford.
The Yarra Valley Opera Festival will take place over ten days, from October 12–21. Other highlights include the Gala Opening Concert, Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte sung in English and an evening combining opera trivia and dinner.