Carl Rafferty is, in many ways, a preserver of the arts.
When most people hear the word ‘opera’ they immediately associate it with high-brow socialites with a taste for “finer art” and foreign music. But on the 15th, 16th and 17th of February, Carl is not only preserving but breathing new life into the 400-year-old craft when he presents Opera by Candlelight at the Albert Hall.
Described by some as “opera without the boring bits,” Opera by Candlelight will bring together a 32-member stellar cast of glamorous and talented opera singers from Vienna, Warsaw, London, Belgrade, Los Angeles and Prague, joined by young and aspiring singers from all around Australia, for three nights packed with classic Opera, Operetta, and Broadway numbers – from Verdi to Gilbert & Sullivan and Rodgers & Hammerstein.
Classics include the famous Flower Duet, The Pearl Fishers’ Duet, and arias from the Barber of Seville and Don Giovanni. And staying true to its traditional roots, the performers will not be relying on microphones or any other amplification, save for what they have been naturally blessed with and supported by the incredible acoustics at Albert Hall. It doesn’t get more traditional than that.
The beauty of the evenings will be amplified, however, by the warm glow of hundreds of candles that will light up the hall – but you need not worry about the heat as the venue will be fully air-conditioned, allowing you to leisurely enjoy the performances.
And with this cool environment comes another requirement that Carl insists on adhering to – dressing up.
“We want to encourage people to dress operatically, flamboyantly, or formally,” Carl says. This is a visual event as much as it is about the talent, so dressing up to the nines is highly encouraged.
“Opera by Candlelight is a special occasion to be shared with friends,” Carl says. “The singers and musicians enjoy a special camaraderie, warmed by rehearsing and performing together (and perhaps a lot of partying together!) It’s also a great thrill for the Australian cast to be reunited with their friends and teachers from Europe who travelled to Australia to join our cast in this special celebration of great tunes from opera.”
The Canberra musician has spared no expense to ensure his guests will be treated to a night of splendour and opulence; 50 banquet tables will be adorned with crisp white linen cloths and silver candelabras, and the stage will be set with antique furniture and musical instruments, with old master paintings set as the backdrop.
The event is styled in banquet format, with each table comfortably seating eight or more patrons. To sweeten the deal, Carl is also offering a gift of wine for each table. You may choose from a selection of bubbly, white, and red.
And here’s another drawcard – especially for selective eaters and ones with specific diets – it’s a BYO food event! Pack a basket with your favourite snacks or supper and wash it down with the complimentary wine selections Carl will be offering. If you prefer to be catered to, Carl has also arranged for Mark Santos (formerly the proprietor of Vivaldi’s at ANU) to cater to your table. This item will be ticketed separately and is only available for a complete table of eight. For more information on how the banquet works, follow this link.
Tables of eight or more will have the places closest to the stage or may choose particular positions. Bookings can be increased at any time; there is no limit to the size of your party. And if your group doesn’t reach a table of eight, smaller tables and mixed tables can be allocated without hassle. So make sure you book your tickets soon!
And as a special offer exclusively for RiotACT readers, Opera by Candlelight is offering 30 tickets for $30 (a massive $50 off its original price) for the Friday night performance. There’s an unusual catch, however – you have to be under 30 or, as Carl muses cheekily, “feel as if you’re under 30”. It’s first in best dressed, so make sure to get your discounted tickets before they run out by following this link.
In case you missed the offer, tickets for the shows can be bought by:
Clicking HERE to book for Friday, 15 February
Clicking HERE to book for Saturday, 16 February
Clicking HERE to book for Sunday, 17 February
“You’ll leave the hall with a spring in your step and whistling the tunes!” Carl promises.