With a lush score and divine costumes influenced by the impossible fashions of the Met Gala, Victorian Opera returns with its iconic production, Lorelei.

Star Observer had a chat with Ali McGregor, the much-loved diva and brainchild behind Lorelei, who stars alongside Antoinette Halloran, and Dimity Shepherd in this new Australian operatic cabaret.

“The costumes could really be at a Met Gala, even if you just love fashion, it’s worth the ticket price alone. But aside from that Lorelei is a new Australian one act opera, and it was written by quite a different team of writers for Opera – Julian Langdon, Casey Bennetto who is most well-known for writing Keating The Musical and Gillian Cosgriff, who is currently in Harry Potter And The Cursed Child.”

Though the production may be based on the classic German legend of a beautiful maiden who threw herself into the Rhine River in despair over a faithless lover, only to be transformed into a siren who lured fishermen to destruction, as McGregor explains “It’s a slightly feminist take on this age-old tale.”

“I guess we question their agency and purpose. Having performed in many operas, the women in these stories very rarely get out alive and they very rarely have a good time.”

Ali McGregor

“Coming from the story and the narrative from two very different angles, that was important. We wanted it to be an exploration of how we view women in literature and opera- the roles we put women into and how those very often bleed into real life.”

“It questions the patriarchy, it’s stark when you look at opera scripts and stories, just the inequality that women have.”

McGregor says that the work was really a collaborative effort. “The writers were totally on the same page with the message they wanted to say. It made for a really fantastic conversation in the rehearsal room.”

What is part of what makes Lorelei so special, is in the way it reimagines what is an often-misunderstood art form, breathing new life into it and in turn attracting new audiences.

“We set about to always write something that sounded classical, we didn’t want to change the musical landscape too much.”

“For me what I love about opera is the lush orchestration and the beauty in the vocal production, we didn’t want to break and remake it. We use that classical form but to tell a really modern story. Also because there is no fourth wall, there is an almost cabaret feel to it, the audience play the sailors on the boat that is about to crash into the rocks.”

Dimity Shepherd, Antoinette Halloran and Ali McGregor in Victorian Opera’s ‘Lorelei’.

In conclusion McGregor tells us that “Lorelei is something you can come to as a regular opera goer and feel like this was different but still in the same language, but we also wanted to create something that people who haven’t been to any opera or very little, could come and really enjoy it.”

Lorelei opens at the Palais Theatre St Kilda on Wednesday  June 30, 2021. For more information or to book your tickets head to the Victorian Opera website.


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