Divorce marries opera and television

WA Opera general manager Carolyn Chard.
WA Opera general manager Carolyn Chard.

EXPANDING audiences by finding new appeal is an important focus for Opera Conference, a partnership of Australian opera companies comprising Opera Australia, WA Opera, Opera Queensland and State Opera of SA.

Its latest creative initiative began three years ago and began production last month in Melbourne with the filming of contemporary comedic opera The Divorce, a four-part series scheduled to air on ABC in December.

WA Opera general manager Carolyn Chard said Opera Australia artistic director Lyndon Terracini was the driving force behind the project starring Lisa McCune, Marina Prior, Hugh Sheridan and Kate Miller-Heidke.

�Lyndon is a creative thinker and he started talking about attracting a different audience for it,� Chard said.

�Opera can be three and a half hours in the theatre; you have to get a babysitter and it�s a big investment in time.

�Somehow out of all this came the idea of putting it on television. It�s almost a soap opera and will be in four parts, so it�s not a massive investment in time.�

Chard said the cast included an amazing list of names, not necessarily those you would expect to find in an opera.

�But it has the same universal themes opera explores, with love, passion, regret, greed, which resonate with an audience,� she said.

�It�s literally about a couple who are getting a divorce and are throwing a divorce party.

�The title inspires curiosity and is one of those universal themes that capture everyone in some way or another. It will be interesting to see how it translates to television.�