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Last night Monique Sasson had the honour of hosting a hugely informative and entertaining evening previewing the upcoming Victorian Opera production of Discover Sunday in the Park with George.
The production is inspired by Georges Seurat’s vivid impressionist painting, A Sunday afternoon on the island of La Grande Jatte. "It is an excellent choice of painting to build a musical theatre piece around, and one dear to my own heart," Monique told the 200-strong audience. "L’ile de la Grande Jatte is close to where a Parisian cousin of mine lives and I’ve passed it many times on visits to her."
The painting, finished in 1884, provides us a snapshot of a summer's day in late 19th century Paris. Monique drew comparisons with the Marvelous Melbourne of that time. "There remains many examples of contemporary architecture from Seurat’s time standing tall and beautiful in Melbourne, such as the Royal Exhibition Building in Nicholson Street, The ANZ Gothic headquarters on Collins Street, The Grand Hotel on Spencer Street, and the Windsor Hotel on Spring Street," she said. "And as you melt back into the suburbs tonight, bear in mind that many of our beautiful, charming inner suburban Victorian brick and weatherboard cottages were built around this time too."
Monique, director of VO sponsor Wakelin Property Advisory, added. "I pinch myself daily that my professional canvas is Melbourne's wonderful 19th century architecture, a canvass that was unfurled whilst Monsieur Seurat was dotting away that Sunday afternoon in the Park."
The audience were treated to an eloquent deconstruction of Seurat's life and work and poetic insights into Discover Sunday in the Park with George and its creators, by Lucy Shorrocks (VO managing director), Richard Mills (VO artistic director), Stuart Maunder (the production's director) and Phoebe Briggs (the conductor).
The evening was rounded off with a beautiful solo from Alexander Lewis (who plays the character of George) performing the aria Finishing the Hat from Sunday, accompanied by Phoebe Briggs.
Visit Victorian Opera to buy tickets.
Pic: foreground: Alexander Lewis; background: Lucy Shorrocks, Stuart Maunder and Richard Mills