Review: Master Peter’s Puppet Show & What’s Next, Victorian Opera

Herald Sun – August 17 2012
By Kate Herbert
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DON’T expect classical opera from this double bill of short works from Victorian Opera.

Master Peter’s Puppet Show, a quirky 20-minute opera written by Manuel de Falla in 1923, merges an eclectic score for chamber orchestra with three voices and shadow puppetry to tell the story of a Spanish, heroic romance.

Rough draped sheets give a rustic setting and provide huge screens for the clever, witty shadow puppets, deftly directed by Nancy Black.

What’s Next? is compelling, but even more challenging to the uninitiated ear, with  Elliott Carter’s contemporary, discordant score, abstract setting and Paul Griffiths’ absurd, delusional libretto.

In this surreal unreality, five people survive a car accident, but remain confused about their location, fate and even their names and relationships.

In Carter’s score, crashing percussion, surges of playful sonic energy and dissonance underscore the rich interplay of voices and diverse styles.

All roles are sung with skill and humour while Orchestra Victoria, conducted by Daniel Carter, plays these complex scores with precision.