Divas take opera in whole new direction


Penny Shaw and Fiona Cooper Smyth (in silver dress) play duelling divas in the  Fringe show DivaLicious and The Impresario.  Picture: Andrew Ritchie        d448612
Penny Shaw and Fiona Cooper Smyth (in silver dress) play duelling divas in the Fringe show DivaLicious and The Impresario. Picture: Andrew Ritchie        d448612

Penny Shaw, of South Fremantle, and Fiona Cooper Smyth, of Nedlands, play duelling divas in their version of DivaLicious and The Impresario.

Penny, who played the same character when she was in her 20s, rewrote the 1786 musical comedy that Mozart wrote ahead of his three most popular pieces of work.

“I’ve added extra music that’s not from the original opera,” she said.

“It’s a new direction for us because we’re performing an actual opera.”

Fiona said the acoustics at the Art Gallery of WA allowed them to perform without microphones. “We’re singing without microphones, that’s how opera should be heard,” she said.

DivaLicious and The Impresario is a one-hour show about how The Impresario (Igor Sas) and his faithful singing assistant Mr Bluff (Robert Hofmann) put art on a business basis.

Generous benefactor and mining magnate Mr Angel (Ian Toyne), insists that two rival sopranos Dame Gwendolyn “Goldie” Goldentrill (Fiona Cooper Smyth) and Svetlana “Silvie” Silverpeal (Penny Shaw) are part of his sponsorship deal.

Both women are sleeping with Mr Angel and come face to face for the first time while performing together.

WA Opera’s artistic director Brad Cohen and general manager Carolyn Chard are supporting the Fringe World 2016 show that is on Thursday and Saturday at 6.30pm and 8.30pm with two performances each night.