Life-sized puppets at the opera in magical take on THE SLEEPING BEAUTY

To open Season 2021, Victorian Opera remounts its enchanting production of The Sleeping Beauty, featuring 27 life-sized puppets, at the Palais Theatre from 20 – 26 February.

Described by The Age as ‘pure magic’, Victorian Opera’s production of this timeless fairy tale reimagines the story with playfulness and charm. Awakened by the imagination of director Nancy Black (Black Hole Theatre), singers and puppeteers gather on stage as a community reeling from tragedy to share a story of hope.

One hundred years after it was written, Ottorino Respighi’s opera The Sleeping Beauty (La Bella dormente nel Bosco) finds extraordinary contemporary resonance in a world once again at its knees.

As Europe emerged from the horrors of WWI and the devastation of the Spanish Flu, from which the composer suffered a mild case, Respighi delivered an opera sparkling with joy, resilience and wit.

Premiering in 1922, the original opera was created for Vittorio Podrecca’s famed puppet company I Piccoli, featuring marionette puppets on stage with singers performing alongside the orchestra in the pit. In Victorian Opera’s production, marionettes are replaced with spectacularly realised life-sized puppets.

Victorian Opera’s Head of Music Phoebe Briggs (Lorelei, Black Rider) conducts Orchestra Victoria and a cast of talented local singers, including Georgia Wilkinson, Dimity Shepherd, Liane Keegan, Stephen Marsh and Carlos Bárcenas.

An opera that will enchant audiences of any age, Respighi’s The Sleeping Beauty invites you to reawaken your senses.

With tickets from $39 and strictly limited seating, don’t miss an evening of pure magic.

Phoebe Briggs, Conductor:

From the opening of Respighi’s opera, it’s clear that we’re in for a treat. The beautiful score is full of delightful moments of humour, pathos, joy and hope. The orchestration is lush and full of colour and the singers and puppeteers are glorious. A joyous night in the theatre!

Nancy Black, Director:

Respighi uses The Sleeping Beauty to remind us all how vulnerable we are and that, try though we might, we cannot prevent certain catastrophes. Recovery is not only possible, but it draws upon the strengths we have known forever: hope, love, humour and persistence.

This production presents a community in mourning who choose, as mankind has done since the evolution of language, to tell themselves a story that will assure a way out from their grief. It is funny as well as sad, contemporary and classical, the past and future meet and find a new way forward. Love makes everything possible. Of course! Wholly relevant in 1921, it is doubly so now!

Ottorino Respighi’s The Sleeping Beauty
Palais Theatre, St Kilda | 20, 23, 25, and 26 February at 7.30pm
1 h 20, no interval | Sung in Italian with English subtitles

Tickets from $39 – $125
Book now via

Photo Credit: Charlie Kinross

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