THE nature of New York-based soprano Rachelle Durkin’s career means her one-year-old son Ethan is a well-travelled little man.
He has flown with her everywhere from Kansas to Hawaii and is now on his first trip to Perth, and Durkin’s home city, as she returns to WA Opera for the company’s season of The Elixir of Love (L’elisir d’amore).
The Gaetano Donizetti opera is on at His Majesty’s Theatre from July 14 to 23 and sees Durkin reunited with tenor Aldo Di Toro after the pair starred in Opera Australia’s The Elixir of Love season in Melbourne last year under the direction of Simon Phillips.
“It’s great to sing with Aldo, who I’ve grown up with really,” Durkin said.
“We went to university together at WA Conservatorium of Music, so we’ve known each other for a long time and have a big laugh in rehearsals.
“We go way back and have sung a lot together over the years.”
This Phillips production places the comic opera in the Australian outback, still sung in Italian with English surtitles, and complete with corrugated iron set, lamb chops and fly swatting.
“Even if it’s your first opera, it’s a really perfect opera to go to simply for the fact of familiarity in the production,” Durkin said.
“The surtitles certainly lend themselves to an Australiana effect and even though it’s still sung in Italian, there’s all those Australian colloquialisms as well that are easy to relate to.”
The Elixir of Love follows farmhand Nemorino (Di Toro) who is in love with the wealthy Adina (Durkin).
Nemorino falls for the lure of a travelling salesman who sells him a ‘magic’ elixir of love to win Adina’s heart, with comic results.
“You have to be careful because Adina can come across quite nasty to Nemorino; most of the opera she’s ignoring him,” Durkin said.
“She’s interested in material things and has grown up with Nemorino and I don’t think she looked at him twice.
“Even though she aspires to be somebody else, she’s really a simple, lovely girl with a lot of substance; I think she’s always loved him, it just takes her a while to wake up to the fact.”
What: WA Opera’s The Elixir of Love
Where: His Majesty’s Theatre
When: July 14 to 23