Opera Australia gimmick: Bring on Julie Andrews

Opera Australia gimmick: Bring on Julie Andrews


norman lebrecht

August 07, 2015

The faltering regime of artistic director Lyndon Terracini has reached for its most desperate gambit yet.

To mark a jubilee production of My Fair Lady in August 2016, Terracini has announced the singing actress Julie Andrews as next season’s limelight director.

Andrews played Liza Doolittle in 1956 on Broadway opposite Rex Harrison. She has enjoyed a rich and productive career as a stage and screen actor. Her experience as a director is confined to a 2003 production of The Boy Friend, and a dramatisation of of her children’s book The Great American Mousical.

It took a genius in Sydney to spot her untapped potential as an opera house director.

That’s what we call creative.

julie andrews


  • Giles Harrison says:

    Is she not allowed to be judged on her production rather than this sneer at her status as a celeb?
    Some actors make it as good directors some don’t the same as some sportsmen make fantastic coaches and some don’t.

    • Susan Bradley says:

      It’s not Julie Andrews that is evoking the raised eyebrows. It’s the rank populism of a directionless strategy.

  • La Donna del Largo says:

    It’s a celebrity “guest appearance” of sorts, but I don’t quite see what the harm is. “My Fair Lady” is a sort of “pops” programming, intended to attract an audience that doesn’t ordinarily go to the opera. As it’s a rather familiar title, a clever presenter needs to add some perceived value. In this case that added value is Dame Julie’s name and, to an appreciable extent, her history with this work, having created the role and played it for something like three years.

    The lady is nobody’s fool, so I think we can be confident that the she has demanded as part of the agreement to produce this show an appropriate level of support from experienced choreographers, assistant directors, designers and such. Her artistic ideas, which presumably will consist primarily of details of character and perhaps a few “tricks” of putting over a particular line or song effectively, will be translated for her by these surrounding experts. She does have the advantage of having worked closely with Moss Hart, both on this show and “Camelot,” so at the very least she has seen a great director in action.

    Directing a Broadway-style musical is an odd sort of skill that has been known to baffle even some of the greatest experts from the spoken theater. e.g., Sir John Gielgud, who was fired from the Debbie Reynolds revival of “Irene.” At this point we don’t have much idea one way or the other how adept Dame Julie is, but it’s only fair to wait and see the proof of the pudding.

  • Milka says:

    Can she be any worse than the hack tenor-baritone that also laughingly is passed off
    as a conductor , and appears everywhere like a bad penny . What is creative here is that he knows his audience and that ain’t saying much
    Let’s hope Ms.Andrews is the real thing .

  • Sam Flaxman says:

    While no fan of the current administration at Opera Australi, I think the immediate sneer at Julie Andrews is ridiculously preemptive. Not only a wonderful performer, no doubt a very smart cookie, but can we also assume that being married to Blake Edwards for such a long time might also have rubbed off?

    Let’s judge this on the outcome, shall we, not on the prejudice (as justified as it is in OA’s case) of one’s opinion of Lyndon Terracini.