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 [puppet] 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
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
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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