Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific presented by Opera Australia after the success the musical has had in recent times on Broadway (winning seven Tony awards) and playing to sold out shows. The four week run at the Opera House kicked off with a gala premiere. Under the guidance of Director Bartlett Sher and Music Supervisor Ted Sperling, they have chosen a stellar ensemble to bring new life to this classic musical.
Multiple Gold Logie winner Lisa McCune heads the cast playing Nellie Forbush and delivers a wonderful performance. I was amazed at the quality of her voice. From her Arkansas accent through to her singing, McCune shone. Her co-lead, famed opera performer Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Emile De Becque was simply brilliant. His booming, deep baritone thundered through his numbers and, for his first musical role, played the part of the wealthy French plantation owner perfectly.
The story, set around the war time in the early 40s in the South Pacific islands, it tells of a love story between young American nurse Nellie (McCune) and Frenchman Emile (Rhodes). Emile, who fled from France after killing a man, has a peaceful and contented life on the island until a station is set up during the war and he meets Nellie who captures his heart. But like any good love story, nothing is smooth sailing. Theres conflict, racism, prejudice and off course, the war that prevents their love from growing.
The cast is also superbly aided by the talents of Kate Ceberano as local village souvenir dealer Bloody Mary, Eddie Perfect in the role of Seabees leader Luther Billis, Daniel Koek as Lt Joesph Cable and John O'Kay as Captain Brackett. The Australian Opera & Ballet Orchestra performed the songs with precision and vibrancy and complimented the excellent performance on the stage.
The whole three hour performance is entertaining and enjoyable. A prefect cast and simple and eloquent production of a classic musical from the famed works of Rodgers & Hammerstein. The standing ovation at the end was well deserved.