Director Clemence Williams developed Chamber Pot Opera along with co-creators Keiren Brandt-Sawdy and Thomas De Angelis in response to the limited roles for women in opera.
She says, “When I was studying voice, I was told I could sing the ‘Witches, bitches or breeches’ roles as a mezzo-soprano, so this opera attempts to debunk those small-minded stereotypes that exist in opera.”
The unusual setting for this show is the Playhouse Ladies Bathroom at the Sydney Opera House, where only 42 audience members will be admitted at any time.
Against a pastiche of music by Puccini, Mozart and Bizet, this production tells the story of three women who meet in a public toilet. As the blurb tells us, “One is in an abusive relationship, another is terrified she has come on too strong on a date, and the third has just landed her dream job.”
Why a bathroom?
“Everyone loves singing in the shower so naturally, it’s a wonderful place to stage an intimate and moving story. This is opera like you will never see it – up close and personal. The highest art form in the lowest space,” said Williams.
CPO has performed for six seasons in Adelaide, Edinburgh and St Petersburg, Russia in five bathrooms around the world.
I asked Clemence if they’ve ever had difficulties finding suitable venues in the company’s travels around the world?
“Absolutely,” she replies. “On two occasions we had to use the men’s bathroom and cover up the urinals to create seating banks.”
Until Apr 28. The Playhouse Ladies Bathroom, Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney. $45-$55+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.sydneyoperahouse.com
By Irina Dunn.