Trouble in Tahiti opera finds home in City Beach

Valerie Cahuzac. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Valerie Cahuzac. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

VALERIE and Claude Cahuzac are letting 50 strangers a night into their City Beach home, all in the name of love for opera.

The couple, who have lived on Yalgun Road for three years, agreed to Lost and Found Opera taking over their house for a season of Leonard Bernstein’s Trouble in Tahiti.

Bordeaux-born and raised Valerie met artistic co-director Thomas de Mallet Burgess through his wife and her singing teacher Fiona McAndrew.

“I helped them with the French pronunciation when they produced the season of Medee,” Cahuzac said.

“This opera is set in the same style of suburb (as City Beach) in the United States and Thomas knew our house and that I loved opera.

“He sent me an email asking what I thought about hosting an opera in my house and I said ‘Yes, why not?’.

“He told me to take my time and think about it because it’s going to be a lot of mess, but nevertheless I wanted to try because it’s always nice to have music around you.”

Trouble in Tahiti continues Lost and Found Opera’s program of productions presented in unexpected spaces.

The audience will be on the deck while the action takes place in the open plan living room and kitchen; the musicians (complete with grand piano) will be in the dining room.

Cahuzac said the opera was about a couple who had been married 10 years and were drifting apart.

“They’re trying to reconnect,” she said.

“I think Thomas wanted to choose the house here because the couple are moving from the United States to Australia. The couple is in a mess and the house will be too, with cardboard boxes everywhere.”

Cahuzac said she was no stranger to packing boxes herself, having moved 25 times for Claude’s work during their 35 years of marriage.

“I’ve packed and unpacked so many times in my life; without children it is so much easier,” she said.

“We have four children, so when we moved when they were younger it was quite a lot of work. They are grown up, married and parents themselves now. One lives in Stockholm, one in Singapore and two in France.”


What: Trouble in Tahiti

Where: 10 Yalgun Road, City Beach

When: May 12 to 20