In 1984....the relatively new S.B.S. Multicultural TV Broadcasting group co-produced with Independent Productions [au]of Sydney, Australia a TV series introducing the history and wonderment of Opera to children in a family-friendly format. Puppets and Blue-screen settings were used widely, the show ran for one 13 part season - each season dealing with a different Opera. The shows format used 2 [human] children with an ensemble cast of principal pet] characters. The characters were people from various international and cultural backgrounds.
The Opera Company of the story are actually a troupe of international performers and musicians fallen on hard times and have found themselves 'squatting' in an abandoned theatre, always ready to hide from "the Caretaker"...a mystery figure with the power to evict them at any time. They are discovered by Tina and Johnny, 2 children who lose a soccer ball and stumble into the Maestro's Company's world of highly talented and totally eccentric singers and musicians. Before long, Tina and Johnny have become friends and allies with the Maestro and the troupe. Fascinated and inspired by this new world they help them create and develop their Operas....though they are the only audience to ever see them.
This was a fun show to make, I had the good fortune to appear on this show regularly as a puppeteer. For its time it was quite ground-breaking for the combination of technologies and degree of authenticity and execution of the opera material and exposition of opera and theatre history - as well as making a gentle pitch for multicultural tolerance.
I know it ran in Singapore, Canada and the USA...but i haven't seen a review for it outside of Australia. As I recall the Australian reviewers mostly commended it for its ambitions...some seemed to feel it suffered something Opera suffers everywhere..its a little hard to explore without a good guide and an ear for the classics.
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