11 February 2018
A very pleasant afternoon was spent, courtesy of the Richard Wagner Society SA, at the Seven Stars Hotel to observe the passing of the Maestro (13 February 1883) and to hear from rising Australian tenor, Samuel Sakker, who is here to sing in the Brett Dean-composed opera of Hamlet at the Festival Theatre, and later in the year, to perform in Meistersinger Act III as David.
It was of great interest to hear about the travails of a young tenor making his way in the world of opera, and to learn that selection of an operatic role is as much a matter of career strategy as it is of conserving the larynx. Reminded the opera is a business, TVC felt a trifle the reverse of George Bernard Shaw’s bon mot to Sam Goldwyn: “You talk of art, Mr Goldwyn, I think of money.”
Samuel has an already impressive repertoire (see his website: https://www.samuelsakker.com/ for full details) that includes Pinkerton, Don Jose, Macduff, Eugene Onegin‘s one-time buddy Lensky, Alfredo in La Traviata, and for we Wagner fans, Erik in the ‘Dutchman,’ Baroncelli in Rienzi, the Minnesinger Heinrich der Schreiber in Tannhäuser and Ulrich Eisslinger in Meistersinger.
Samuel is a very pleasant, engaging young man, and we look forward to his work with long-standing and beloved Wagnerian Nicholas Braithwaite in Meistersinger. Of Hamlet, we are not quite as sanguine, although we gather Mr Dean is hot stuff right now, and his operatic rendering of Bliss is something to see as well. Samuel will take on the role of Laertes, so already we can look forward to seeing how authentically he portrays a sticky end (although, come to think of it, that’s pretty much the entire cast’s story in the Danish Play.)