Light-hearted classic opera

LOVE, comedy and melodrama — the lifeblood of opera — can be found in spades in an upcoming performance by the Penrith Symphony Orchestra.

In a new venture for the orchestra, the program includes a complete, semi-staged opera in addition to operatic highlights.

La Serva Padrona (The Servant Turned Mistress) is a witty tale of deception and seduction.

First performed in Naples in 1733, La Serva Padrona is regarded as a pivotal work in the transition from baroque to classical opera.

The work is being presented for the first time in Penrith in a production conceived by Michelle Foreman - an operatic soprano who has performed and directed in Australia and Britain and now teaches at the Penrith Conservatorium of Music.

The production stars up-and-coming opera singers Alexander Knight and Jenny Liu, as the gentleman bachelor Uberto and his conniving maid Serpina.

As the drama unfolds, the arrogant maid schemes to trick her master into marrying her so that she may become the mistress of the household.

Local actors Ethan Fitzpatrick and Alissa Lancuba assist Serpina with her scheming.

In the second half of the program, Knight and Liu will be joined by opera students from the Sydney Conservatorium Opera School, Zoe Drummond, Javier Vilareno and Jared Lillehagen, to perform a selection of arias and duets. The orchestra will also perform opera overtures by Mozart and Rossini.

Operatic Favourites will be conducted by the orchestra's artistic director Paul Terracini at Q Theatre, Penrith, 8pm, Saturday, December 1.

To book, call 4723 7600 or online at www.jspac.com.au. Tickets: $40 each.

For information on Penrith Symphony Orchestra, visit www.pso.org.au.

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