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Love Burns

There's no denying true crime is having a moment. From podcasts to TV shows, we’re hungry to find out what happened to the victims, to figure out why people are driven to commit such atrocious crimes, and, hopefully, to see justice served.

But would you associate true crime with the fine art of opera? Maybe not. But that’s all about to change, as State Opera South Australia descends on the Darwin stage, giving music, theatre and true crime fans a chance to bear witness to their latest show, Love Burns.

By Tierney Seccull

Directed by Nicholas Cannon, Love Burns is darkly funny chamber opera penned by Graeme Koehne with libretto by Louis Nowra. Cannon says it bucks the trend on what you might expect from the traditional art form.

“This one’s kind of nice as an opera, because normally you don’t gets topics like this in the opera form. It doesn’t take itself too seriously – it’s not what you’d expect normal opera to be at all,” he says.

“It’s an Australian piece – normally an opera might be some old Italian or German waffling on, and you sort of don’t really know what’s happening – whereas this one is Australian and all in English, and it’s just a fun, interesting story.”

Based on the true crime story of the 1940s American serial killer couple known as The Honeymoon Killers, Love Burns takes the premise and runs with it, giving it a distinct Aussie flavour.

Jack is a gigolo, a con and a bit of a ladies’ man, feigning love to scam lonely widows out of their money. Angela, initially one of his victims, teams up with Jack to assist in his fraudulent scheme. Angela loves the con but not the ladies, so when jealousy sets in, she somehow persuades Jack to kill his victims.

Love Burns is presented as part of The Lost Operas of Oz series, created by State Opera South Australia to see Australian operas shine under lights again. It premiered at the 1992 Adelaide Festival, and has had just a handful of revivals since.

Cannon says – if it’s your first foray into opera or you’ve only experienced the traditional styles – Love Burns is a great introduction or re-introduction to the art form.

“It’s really fun. It’s very funny, it’s very thrilling, it’s very romantic, there’s a lot of suspense, and the music’s really nice and accessible. I think audiences will just have a really good time!”

State Opera South Australia Love Burns
WHEN FRI 21 & SAT 22 OCT | 7.30PM
COST $40 | $35 MEMB/CONC

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