Nothing Like A Dame

The Sydney Symphony and Barry Humphries as Dame Edna Everage put on a show last weekend at the Sydney Opera House with a program of classical music for children.  The evening started with the recently retired Dame Edna charming the audience with wry home truths about the state of Australia, before the Sydney Symphony played Saint-Saëns' Carnival of The Animals.  This humourous musical suite of fourteen movements was written by Camille Saint-Saëns in 1886.  He first regarded it as piece of fun and did not want the piece to be published in his lifetime.  The first public performance was in 1922 after his death.  It has since become his most famous piece of work. In 1949, Ogden Nash wrote a set of humourous verses to accompany each movement.  On Saturday Dame Edna did her version of these verses, with an Australian twist.

After interval, we were treated to Juanita the Spanish Lobster, a recently written children's musical work with music by David Haslam and story by Johnny Morris that combines the tale of Juanita with a mixture of  flamenco guitar and bel canto opera.  It was hilarious.  A bit like that part in Victor/Victoria when Toddy takes over as Victoria and sings The Shady Dame From Seville, just without the dancers.  This was then followed by Sergei Prokofiev's Peter and The Wolf. This composition was written in 1936 and is a children's story with music and text.  Dame Edna has previously recorded a version of Peter and The Wolf so her performance on Saturday night was very well done, with exquisite work from the Sydney Symphony.