Mythology redefined in Victorian Opera’s Lorelei


Sarah Giles: Lorelei’s based on an ancient myth about Siren Lorelei who sits atop a cliff along the River Rhine. They sing sailors to their death essentially. You know, they’re so blown away by her beauty and song that they can’t help but sink their boats. We have our Lorelei, and in this particular retelling of the story, we see three Lorelei. The idea being that when the real woman jumped from the cliff, she was kind of split into three, and they’re the three goddesses or sirens that you see in the production. The audience are on a cruise ship. That’s kind of the premise for the show. The audience is in this boat, sailing down the river in a lot of classical texts. So often these texts are written about men authoring women, from the male perspective. How can we debunk these stereotype? Dimity Shepherd: This is an incredible show. It’s taking the Lorelei myth and then using it as a framework to explore what it means to be a woman within a patriarchal kind of system.
Antoinette Halloran: It’s been an amazing journey.
We’re sort of finding out as we go.
There’s a lot of things to resonate with on many levels,
emotionally and physically, and in our lives.
Dimity Shepherd: We’re not just striving for something as the great idea.
We’ve actually got the ingredients to make it great. We’ve got a lot of giants involved in this piece.
Casey and Gillian writing the words, Sarah directing us.
Julian’s music, unbelievable.
Ali McGregor: Creating a piece where the three of us could sing
was really exciting. Our voices blend really well.
It’s just not often you see a female lead piece.
Just having the chance to get a piece written for our voices specifically was just,
I mean it’s such a treat and Julian’s done an incredible job.
Phoebe Briggs: The three Lorelei have their own really distinctive voices
in terms of who they are as a Lorelei and their particular journey,
so each one of them has their own character musically as well. And it shifts from that through into tango and pop and Latin. Some quite percussive sounds from the orchestra
and it’s an incredible journey that happens quite quickly.
Sarah Giles: The set sort of represents the world. We didn’t want to put them literally on a rock. We sort of wanted the piece to be a bigger metaphor. When we were kind of conceptualizing this, that the girls needed to feel trapped by architecture, something that felt, that was made by a masculine society, by a patriarchy, a kind of mega death labyrinth that you can’t escape. Throughout history women’s clothing is about restriction, so whether it’s about corsets or eating disorders or going to the gym, it’s about trying to constrain yourself and fit into some other form. And the idea that the women when the show opens look so exquisitely feminine, like it’s saturated and over the top. And then what you discover through the course of the show is they can’t walk. It’s the perfect time to tell this story now because politically feminism has come so far and we’ve still got so much further to go. Ali McGregor: I’m getting to do a piece on stage that I feel like it matters. Playing something that you can relate to. Antoinette Halloran: This piece tries to put a microscope on all of that, but it also asks the question, will this really be a change. Are we making steps towards equality or we’re like little mice on a turning wheel, and we’re trying to go up, but the wheel keeps turning.
Sarah Giles: Through the use of metaphor and analogy, it’s a great way of asking people to look at a problem in a different way.

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