A man cowers in the darkness, his shadow looks like a cockroach

Interview: Lyndon Terracini

Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini on the thrills of Metamorphosis

In 1983 Lyndon Terracini was a contemporary opera specialist. He sang a lot of world premieres, and if you happened to be at Arts Centre Melbourne that year, you might have seen him sing Metamorphosis.

It’s an engrossing chamber opera based on Franz Kafka’s curious story of a man turned insect. The libretto is drawn from Steven Berkhoff’s brilliant play.

This year, you can see it for yourself (although, unfortunately, not starring Terracini).

“This was just one of the contemporary operas I sang, but I think when you come into contact with a piece that you think is particularly good, particularly powerful, you remember it,” Terracini says.

So he chose it to launch what will be an annual showing of chamber operas in the Opera Australia Scenery Workshop (Sydney) and The Coopers Malthouse (Melbourne).

“This piece will work extremely well in the context of the scenery workshop, and in the intimate Merlyn Theatre in Melbourne. It’s a better atmosphere, and will really heighten the drama.”

Simon Lobelson will take on the demanding role of Gregor Samsa (Terracini’s part), in an exciting debut for a singer with the “very particular set of talents” this role requires.

“You have to be a very good musician to sing this kind of music. Most importantly, you need to have a very good imagination,” Terracini says.

Director Tama Matheson has some exciting ideas when it comes to telling this unusual tale, Terracini says, but he’s remaining tight-lipped at this point.

“You can expect a really strong piece of theatre. Howard really rachets up the drama and the music is used to drive the story. This is a really compelling piece of music-theatre, where you’ll see a story told on stage in a really powerful way.”

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