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Opera in the Pub at The Roxbury

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by Gary Brown (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer and photographer from Sydney who has now had five books published on fishing. I also write for the NSW Fishing Monthly, Visit the Shire, Fisho App & Tackle Tactics. I also like to travel and experience new things to do.
Have you ever thought about going to the Opera?
Who would have ever thought that Opera would be performed at a pub? Me for one, that is until I heard that due to great demand the Roxbury Hotel at Glebe was once again getting Opera Bites and their brilliant artists to perform "The Elixir of Love" on Wednesday the 10th of June from 7.30pm.

The Elixir Of Love performed by artists from Opera Bites. Photo courtesy of Opera Bites.

This shortened 90-minute, 2 Act version tells the story of a country bumpkin who wins the hard-to-get heart of the girl he adores and it features one of the best loved arias: 'una furtiva lagrima' 'one furtive tear'.

ACT 1.

Nemorino is a poor young villager who has fallen madly in love with Adina, a beautiful farm owner who loves to read books. One day while Adina is reading a book called Tristan and Isolde to some of her workers, one of them asks Adina what her book is about, and she tells them the story of how Tristan won the heart of Isolde by drinking a magic love potion.

Elli Bortolotti as Adina & Peter-John Layton as Nemorino. Photo courtesy of Opera Bites.

After hearing this Nemorino is convinced that if he had this magic potion it would help him to gain Adina's love and affection. But, where could he get some?

In the meantime a dashing Sergeant Belcore appears out of nowhere with his regiment of soldiers, and before too long he has taken a liking to Adina and starts courting her so that he can make her his wife.

Rik Dawson as Sergeant Belcore & Peter-John Laton as Nemorino. Photo courtesy of Opera Bites.

This does not sit too well with Nemorino.

To the rescue comes the travelling quack doctor, Dulcamara selling his bottled cure-all to the townspeople. Nemorino innocently asks Dulcamara if he has any of Isolde's love potion and the quick thinking Dulcamara quickly brings out the bottle of cure all.

Nemorino parts with the last of the money he has to purchase this love potion and quickly drinks it down thinking that it will win the heart of Adina. Dulcamara informs Nemorino that it will not take effect for 24 hours.

In the meantime, un be known to Nemorino, Adina has promised to marry Sergeant Belcore in a few days, but Sergeant Belcore tells Adina that it has to be tomorrow as he has to leave town with his regiment.

What is Nemorino to do?

Nemorino desperately calls for the doctor's help.

ACT 2.

Even though Adina and Belcore's wedding party is in full swing they haven't yet signed any paperwork to make the marriage official and there is no sign of Nemorino.

Does Dulcamara have something else that speeds the process up?

Did Nemorino arrive in-time to prevent Adina from marrying Sergeant Belcore?

Does Sergeant Belcore help Nemorino out?

What happens to the shifty Dulcamara?

Did Adina love Nemorino all the time or was she leading him on?

Does true love win in the end?

To find out what happens in the end you will need to book your tickets to the Opera in the Pub, "The Elixir of Love" one of Donizetti's most delightful comic operas.

You will be amazed at the voices and performances of the following artists:

Elli Bortolotti playing Adina.

Elli Bortolotti (Soprano) Photo courtesy of Opera Bites.

Peter-John Layton playing Nemorino.

Opera Bites
Peter-John Layton (Tenor). Photo courtesy of Opera Bites.

Rik Dawson playing Sergeant Belcore.

Opera Bites
Rik Dawson (Baritone). Photo courtesy of Opera Bites.

David Hidden playing Dr Dulcamara.

David Hidden (Baritone). Photo courtesy of Opera Bites.

Rae Levien playing Gianetta (town gossip).

Opera Bites
Rae Levien (Soprano).

Keara Donohoe playing villager/peasant.

Opera Bites
Keara Donohoe (Mezzo). Photo courtest of Opera Bites.

Murray Dahm playing villager/peasant.

Opera Bites
Murray Dahm (Bass). Photo courtesy of Opera Bites.

Zsuzsa Giczy Musical Director and on piano.

Opera Bites
Zsuzsa Giczy (Musical Director and Pianist). Photo courtesy of Opera Bites.

At some time during the show there will a few guest appearances. Who will they be, you may ask?

It could be you. Yes you! You may find yourself being selected to take part in this opera as a soldier or villager.

During the 90-minute show you will be treated to the great voices of this cast singing the following songs:

She's a darling, I adore her. (Quanto e bella)
Tristan adored Isolda. (Della crudele Isolde)
Just as Paris in the story. (Come Paride)
I greet you, salute you, o country folk. (Udite, udite, o rustici)
I am wealthy, you delight me. (Lo son ricco e tu sei bella)
Who can deceive a loving heart? (Una furtiva lagrima).
Here me, stay here and live in freedom. (Prendi)


Opera Bites. Photo courtesy of event organiser.

Opera Bites is a boutique opera company specialising in fully costumed miniature operas as well as dinner theatre and concerts of opera and lighter repertoire. Their format of condensed operas offers an engaging performance which is accessible to the newcomer yet fresh and alive for the seasoned opera-goer.

The company is in great demand to provide tailored entertainment in a variety of venues from private function rooms and restaurants through to historic houses and outdoor spaces.

Opera Bites offers a fresh take on opera, bringing it to a new audience as well as delighting opera lovers. The close-knit team of widely experienced artists have far too much fun working together and it shows in the energy and vivacity of their performances.

Comprising four core members with a wealth of professional performance experience, additional performers of the highest quality are engaged as required for larger events.

For more information click here.

The Elixir of Love will be performed in English (not Italian) in order to keep the comedy accessible. The Opera Bites version also has some cuts to make it fit a 90-minute format. The practicalities of running time and performance space have seen them replace the recitative with dialogue and most repeats within the music have been omitted. Their aim is to present a delightful production which is accessible to the operatic newcomer yet enjoyable for the seasoned opera goer.

Even though this is on a Wednesday night (hump day in the week) it would be a great way to spend a night at the pub watching and listening to opera. You could get to the Roxbury Hotel at 182 St John's Road Glebe early and have a meal before the show.

There will be about a 20 to 30 minute interval for you to top up those drinks before Act 2 starts.

The show is limited to 80 seats to this performance, so I would suggest that you get in early.

To book your tickets just click here.

For further information on up and coming shows you should check out the Opera Bites Facebook page.
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Why? A great night out watching and listening to opera at a pub.
When: Show starts at 7.30pm & finishes at 9.30pm.
Phone: (02) 8721 6619
Where: The Roxbury Hotel
Cost: $45 pp. Plus $3.69 booking fee
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