Anywhere Theatre Festival: Aria Moderna

Aria Moderna is a unique blend of operatic voices and classical music, infused with contemporary arrangements, live vocal manipulation and techno beats.

Alicia Cush, Bethan Ellsmore, Jade Moffat in Aria Moderna - Anywhere Theatre Festival [Image: Black Bee Studio]
Alicia Cush, Bethan Ellsmore, Jade Moffat in Aria Moderna
[Image: Black Bee Studio]
Dubbed ‘electro-opera’ the aim of the Little Black Dress Creatives is to showcase artistic excellence in unique works and settings that defy genre convention.

Set on the Turbine Platform of the Brisbane Powerhouse as part of the Anywhere Theatre Festival, the all-white staging was simple but effective. Two transparent white curtains framed the stage, providing a screen for multimedia displays. The back wall and the white costumed performers were also used as a canvas onto which video images were projected. The performers’ striking blue/silver face paint added to the futuristic feel of the piece. I was reminded of the Diva scene in the film the Fifth Element, where a futuristic metallic blue alien creature sings techno-opera.

Presented as a staged concert, three classically trained singers, Alicia Cush, Bethan Ellsmore and Jade Moffat, deliver captivating solo work as well as duos and trios. Each sonic vignette, from Monteverdi, through to Madame Butterfly and Gershwin, is accompanied by projected modern interpretations of operatic scenery and motifs.

Each of the voices is highly polished, with its own unique timbre, although Bethan Ellsmore’s coloratura was something really special. When they sang together the harmonic blends of the three voices were spine tingling.

Given that the operatic pieces were performed in their original language, it would have perhaps been a good idea if surtitles, even artistically placed snippets of text, had been incorporated into the multimedia. This would have helped those of us unfamiliar with opera to better understand the story and have a deeper appreciation for the work.

Little Black Dress Creatives have worked with some of Brisbaneʼs best electronica Programmers/Composers to produce their unique voice, mixing classical songs with techno beats and synth sounds. Their performance culminated with a wonderful arrangement of Gershwinʼs ʻSummertimeʼ

Bobbi-Lea Dionysius

Bobbi-Lea is's QLD Co-ordinator, writer, reviewer, and reporter. She is also an actor, presenter, and theatre/film producer for Drama Queen Productions in Brisbane. Bobbi-Lea holds a Degree in Music Theatre as well as a Degree in Film & TV, and is currently doing her Masters in Screen Production.

Bobbi-Lea Dionysius

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