BRINGING OPERETTA BACK
So, first things first, what exactly is an operetta, compared to a grand, traditional opera? The former are more light-hearted, comedic performances, with simple storylines.
And Two Weddings, One Bride, created by Robert Andrew Greene, fits this bill to a tee.
When the curtains go up at the Opera Sydney House's The Playhouse for the first scene of this performance, one cannot do anything but smile. The colourful, extravagant costumes, the light-hearted melodies - this musical comedy is already a hit with the audience.
"Unlike opera, you really don't have to study hard to understand operettas. You can watch them and have a really fun time," the Balgowlah local simply states.
"And it's a shame operetta has practically disappeared. It's out of fashion. In Australia, it's place has now been taken by modern American/British musicals and there's no harm in that.
But there's room for everything. I want to bring operetta back."
Two Weddings, One Bride Is about a woman who has to be married twice - one to her true love, and one pretending she is her twin sister, who has been taken off by pirates. Classic, amusing songs by Strauss, Offenbach, Lehar and Kalman are prominent throughout the show.
As the pianist in the production, this isn't the first time Mr Greene has performed at the iconic venue. In fact, his first time was less than auspicious" he reveals.
"I was working as a freelance conductor and I had a job with the Adelaide Chamber Orchestra, and we were in the rehearsal stage. One day, I received a call from Opera Australia saying that the conductor who was meant to conduct opening night of the new performance at the Opera House had fallen ill. They called to say, 'You have to do opening night'."
He continues, "I said I obviously couldn't as I was in Adelaide, yet they were adamant I had to conduct. Yet before I knew it, after strings were pulled and the clock continued to tick, I touched down at Sydney Airport. I think I'm the first person ever to go through customs in a white tie and tails!"
As to how Mr Greene comes up with scores for operettas, it's certainly not with the help of his family, who he labels as "all tone deaf!"
He says that walking his beloved one year old dog, Lucy, around Manly-Warringah helps.
"I have to take a notebook every time Lucy drags me around the block," the creative smiles.
“I think a good walk around the beaches makes you mull over ideas. You can get away from it all."
"I've lived in Europe and all over Australia, yet I always come back here. Why leave paradise, quite frankly."