10:05pm – Tuesday, March 16 on ABC1
Artscape: Making Opera Bliss captures the intense excitement and pressure as Opera Australia prepares to premiere its brand new Australian work, Bliss. Offering insights into the many challenges faced in the creation of a new opera, this documentary presents a rare opportunity to witness a large ensemble cast under Neil Armfield’s expert and renowned direction.
Viewers are taken behind-the-scenes to track rehearsals and to see interviews with key players such as internationally celebrated Australian baritone, Peter Coleman-Wright, who plays the lead, Harry Joy. We also observe international arts practitioners including world renowned conductor Elgar Howarth and librettist Amanda Holden at work.
Bliss is based on Peter Carey’s award-winning debut novel published in 1981. The story was later made into an acclaimed feature film, and now enjoys a new life as an opera – with seasons in Sydney, Melbourne and at the Edinburgh Festival.
Dangers abound in Bliss… Is this reality or some kind of hilarious hell? Blithe and savvy advertising executive, Harry Joy, returns to life after a close encounter with death to find his world is not what it once was. Harry discovers his wife is having an affair with his business partner, his son is dealing drugs and embroiled in an incestuous affair with his sister and everywhere people are dying of cancer. Against these torments comes a hippy bee keeper, healer and hooker, called Honey B, a welcome distraction to divert Harry’s attentions from his living hell.
Throughout March ABC viewers can enjoy a complete Bliss-a-thon, exploring the book, the film and finally the opera…on ABC1, ABC2 and the Arts Gateway.
Bliss-a-thon culminates on ABC2 on March 17 at 8.30pm (AEST) with ABC2 Live Presents Bliss – a performance of Opera Australia’s new production as it is transmitted live from the Sydney Opera House. The performance will also be beamed into cinemas around Australia.
Artscape: Making Opera Bliss will be repeated on ABC2 – Sunday, March 21 at 6:30pm http://abc.net.au/iview/ ABC1 Program Guide: Highlights: Week 12