Opera Australia’s winter season launches on 16 May in Melbourne with an old favourite, the Lerner and Loewe musical My Fair Lady.

The production will move to Sydney in June where it is expected to play to sell-out audiences at the Sydney Opera House.

Though it’s technically not an opera, it’s unlikely that audiences will mind once those famous tunes I Could Have Danced All Night and Wouldn’t It Be Loverly start to ring out and the stage fills with stunning creations from renowned costumier Roger Kirk.

The Tony Award-winning Kirk has had a long-standing relationship with Opera Australia.

I still get nervous with every production. I think the moment you don’t is maybe when you should stop doing it, he said.

The design process for My Fair Lady began for Kirk 12 months ago with a series of sketches for the Ascot scene.

With every production you always know there’s going to be one scene that you’re going to have to crack first before the rest falls into place, and for this it was Ascot, he said.

I knew once I’d worked that out, I would’ve solved it.

Kirk’s Lady will be covered in swathes of classic black and white, with accents of grey and peach added to the mix.

When you’re doing something like My Fair Lady that’s quite well-known, you have to make sure that you keep the essence of what it is, he said.

I mean you couldn’t say, -˜Let’s set it in the 20s’ for then that wouldn’t fit people’s perceptions of what it’s supposed to be.

So by adding to the palette, I’ve given audiences the familiar look they expect but just in another way which makes it a bit different.

The show is still in the final stages of rehearsal, so Kirk is yet to see his final vision come to fruition.

It’s always a nerve-racking thing to see all the costumes come onto the stage at the first dress rehearsal, he said.

While you are doing it and putting together this vision you’re just hoping that it’s going to work as you planned and that the leading lady will stand out the brightest.

You don’t want to realise at that point that you’ve made a mistake and think -˜she needs to be in red’ or -˜that colour palette doesn’t work’.

With a man as accomplished as Kirk though, the risk factor of such an impending disaster is sure to be minimal.

My Fair Lady opens at the Arts Centre, Melbourne, on 16 May and the Sydney Opera House on 21 June. Tickets start at $73. Bookings: 9318 8200 or visit www.opera-australia.org.au.

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