Opera in the Park – Gianni Schicchi

Director Lindy Hume. Picture: Marie Nirme d449074
Director Lindy Hume. Picture: Marie Nirme d449074

LINDY Hume left an indelible mark on Perth’s arts scene as artistic director at WA Opera (1992-96) and Perth International Arts Festival (2004-07), which earned her an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from UWA in 2007.

She has since been at the helm of Sydney Festival and is currently artistic director at Opera Queensland.

Despite Hume’s full calendar, she has managed to find a 10-day window to return and direct City of Perth’s Opera in the Park, Gianni Schicchi, presented in association with WA Opera at Langley Park on February 6.

“Of course it’s great to be back rehearsing in the gorgeous His Majesty’s Theatre, it’s the most beautiful theatre in Australia,” Hume said.

“It was a really nice invitation that luckily fitted my crazy schedule and I’m excited to be working with this cast and Brad Cohen (WA Opera artistic director).

“I love Opera in the Park; it’s one of those really important entertainment events where people can really own their opera company.”

Hume said the Puccini work was a classic sit-com, and despite being written nearly 100 years ago proved a timeless tale about a dysfunctional family.

“It’s all set to fantastic music with beautiful tunes, but for me, the appeal is the characters,” she said.

“They’re not amazing but are very well-drawn, very recognisable with lots of greed, stinginess, meanness, fake love and real love.

“It was originally from Dante’s poem The Divine Comedy, but you could set it today and people will recognise those characters.”

The free event will begin at 6pm with family entertainment including baby animals, face painting, balloon twisting, stilt walkers and a bouncy castle, before the 90-minute opera starts at 8pm, sung in Italian with English subtitles.

The opera will be screened live to Northbridge Piazza and 12 regional venues.

“I think the thing that makes Opera in the Park work are the big screens that will be on either side of the stage,” Hume said.

“I know from my experience with big outdoor events, the screens add that intimacy and the capacity to view the work through the characters very close up, in the way you can in a theatre, but not in a park without them.

“The joy of Opera in the Park is that you’re in the elements where you can feel the air on your skin, enjoy the natural light, kick back and have a picnic.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Opera in the Park – Gianni Schicchi

Where: Langley Park

When: 8pm, Saturday, February 6 (entertainment from 6pm)

Entry: free