Has anyone been watching the gloriously bizarre series of operas on sky Arts from Sydney harbour, yep a stage jutting out into the water. Opera is often visually bizarre, and a pretty bizarre art form in itself, and takes much suspension of disbelief, but these take even more suspension, when as Violetta swoons, the huge red neon Marriott Hotel sign is right behind, and all the sky scrapers twinkling away, and cruise ships saunter by. and there are always huge displays of fireworks over the harbour - in Traviata they were after the brindisi, in Butterfly after the wedding, and no prizes where in Aida.The designers tend to go mad, and create epic sets with hydraulic lifts and such - there's a lot of space to fill, Usually a cast of many many dozen, and an audience still sticking to tuxedos and champagne, whilst mic'd singers bravely cope trying to make an impression in the vastness of it all. It's not about nuance. It's a spectacle certainly but if one were to stand back and coldly take it all in, it could all be a rather ridiculous use of extraordinary resources, so just don't stand back. always fascinating to watch.
I actually saw La Bohème live on Sydney Harbour a few years ago. The setting is stunning - as you say, it's literally a floating stage in the harbour, surrounded by water and framed by the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background.
As spectacular as they look on screen, it was actually a very disappointing experience in person. The invisible orchestra - even amplified - sounded weak as if it was on a track, and the logistics of the stage being where it is mean even the front row are really far away from the action. The stage itself is also large so the intimate scenes and specific action was very difficult to find and follow. Plus the mechanisms of any "stunts" are completely exposed due to the openness of the stage itself so you always know something's coming before it does so it's all rather predictable and clunky (for want of a better word).
Of course, I may have just seen a dud performance or show, but it's one of the rare occasions where I felt the live experienced paled in comparison to the filmed performances I've seen before and since.
Oh Steven, thanks for posting that. I wish I could have seen it. I've seen several productions of that musical, including an amateur one in Liverpool with a cast of hundreds, and with liverpool having such a strong connection, it made for an immensely moving evening.
Blimey, looking at the video I'm amazed health & safety signed that off. It looks terrifying, with actors in full Edwardian costumes falling into the water. I hope all the cast were very good at swimming!