Paolo Bordogna in The Turk in Italy

Paolo Bordogna in The Turk in Italy by Opera Australia will make you actually laugh

So, if there’s one thing you notice about operas that some of the world’s best opera companies like Opera Australia produce, is that a lot of them are really sad. Like, really sad. Everyone dies, there’s lots of heartache and you leave wanting more, but feeling sad about it. In an insatiably excellent way.

It’s one doozie of an emotional rollercoaster. But from time-to-time, you come across comedic productions that turn all that around for the better part of two hours, transforming the stage of Joan Sutherland Theatre in the Sydney Opera House into a source of laughs, brought-about by a cast lead by – fastly-becoming favourite – singers, Paolo Bordogna and Melburnian diva, Stacey Alleaume.

Stacey Alleaume and Paolo Bordogna in The Turk in Italy

The latest production by Opera Australia, The Turk in Italy (on until 1 September 2018) is just that and so much more.

With new import, Bodogna, alongside the likes of Alleaume, Virgilio Marino (who plays Narciso) and Warwick Fyfe (Geronio), the cast, choir and conductor Andrea Molino do a stupendous job in bringing a 50s-themed tale of sexual tension, debauchery and mischievousness to light for the laugh-out-loud enjoyment of the audience.

It’s basically a tale of a bored housewife, a sycophantic husband, a sexy Turkish visitor, a nymphomaniacal gypsy and a poet who’s just after a good storyline, all of whom culminate in a comedic explosion that really does wonders to punctuate the winter season for the opera company.

We spoke with Bordogna, the Italian tenor, who admits though it’s a funny production, there’s a hell of a lot of finesse behind it.

Kitchen scene

“Making the audience laugh is a very serious thing! I always say that the great Clown is that one who knows how to “fall standing up” in other words be able to make a gag with dignity and to do this it takes a lot of technique and sense of “measure”,” he said.

But having said that, though it’s a slog for the singers on stage, the value is almost insurmountable when it comes to the magic of what opera can bring. 

This is the second time Bordogna has played Selim in ‘The Turk’ (the first in 2014), and though he obviously does well with the role, it’s not something he ever set out to play.

“This is not something that you can decide before; it’s a mix of skills and a long preparation. I knew many people who push themselves to be funny, [and] the result is usually the opposite they were looking for,” he said. Good thing for Opera Australia’s audience, Bordogna doesn’t have to try too hard. 

The production is a colourful, 50s-esque explosion of smiles, tension and hilarity, sure to be ideal for any first timer, or seasoned veteran after something wholly different.

Catch The Turk in Italy by Opera Australia at the Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House until 1 September. See session times at the Opera Australia website.

OA Turk In Italy

Paolo’s moment to watch out for: 

“I think is the duet with Don Geronimo (the husband). It is so hard to sing, but is one of the most funny moments in the opera and in every performance at the end of this duet we always have a great applause from the audience, they love it. And the applause of the audience is the most beautiful thing for us.”

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