Traditionalists might scoff, but you can hear Mozart sung better live in Sydney’s watering holes than some of Europe’s Baroque opera houses back in the composer
The boutique opera company Opera Bites has several strong, well trained voices and is taking the classics in period costume into pubs, historic houses, restaurants and even sheds. It’s not always a full opera, or even an abridged one: we caught their Celebrated Highlights at Annandale’s ornately decorated Empire Hotel, enjoying two sets of ten arias close up and personal, plus fine finger food delivered continuously to the comfortable chairs and benches. It’s a really enjoyable experience, even if you’re not already a big lover of Verdi or Rossini. And even experienced opera goers will be impressed by the power of a good singer only a metre or two away.
Singer Murray Dahm doubles as an MC/narrator, giving the context of each aria in the story of its opera, explaining why the character is feeling the particular emotion of the song. He also makes some gentle fun of the conventions and cliches of opera: “The tenor is always in love with the soprano,” he sighs, himself a bass. Everyone goes home humming their favourite number, and feeling they have been converted into experts.