Daring diva with a killer voice
By Christine Moffat
Isabel Hertaeg has a dream to be an operatic soprano, but she’s noticed that they don’t always have the best of luck. Her theory is, if she can work out what keeps killing them off, she has some hope of surviving a role!
Hertaeg has serious soprano-envy, and this is a very good thing. As a result, we were treated to a fabulous array of soprano deaths, without all those annoying tenors getting in the way to spoil it.
The show began with Hertaeg coming onstage as the tragic Ophelia, whose gory death details I won’t spoil. Suffice to say, this reviewer’s sick sense of humour was switched on in the first three minutes of this show. Once poor Ophelia is no more, Hertaeg outlines her approach: she will explain the A-Z of soprano deaths. Accompanied wonderfully by Amy Abler, Hertaeg then starts her alphabetical annihilation with ‘A is for Avalanche’.
If it had gone wrong, this show could have turned into one big highbrow in-joke, with opera aficionados tittering away whilst the common folk looked on confused. Instead, it turned out to be an intelligent concept, wrapped in a delightfully dark show, and decorated with Hertaeg’s wonderful voice.
The cute little prop jokes kept the comedy bubbling along, and the many, many deaths took care of the pathos. Watch out for Brunhilde (a highlight), who ticks both the prop comedy and pathos boxes at once!
Although the show is a tragic comedy, with little quips sprinkled throughout, Hertaeg did not skimp on the opera. Her performance of Butterfly’s aria in particular was intensely moving. On top of being funny and having an amazing voice, Hertaeg also managed to sing in Italian, French, Russian, English and German. I’m beginning to feel a little soprano-envy myself…
Death by Soprano
Wednesday 20th March 2013
The Butterfly Club
Carson Place (just off Little Collins Street in the Melbourne CBD)