Puccini opera The Cloak given new same-sex twist after leading man retires hurt

David CusworthThe West Australian
Jessica Taylor in The Cloak and Dagger.
Camera IconJessica Taylor in The Cloak and Dagger.

The world of Cloak and Dagger just took another twist after Tom Buckmaster, leading man in Puccini’s 1916 opera The Cloak, was taken to hospital on Sunday night with an old back injury.

Sunday’s Fringe performance was cancelled and radically recast to resume for five shows starting tomorrow, soprano Jessica Taylor says.

“After speaking to the other tenors in WA capable of taking on this hefty Puccini role, we’ve decided to totally flip the concept, and now the role of Louis is being changed to Louise, and will be quickly learnt by soprano Chelsea Burns,” Taylor says.

“This totally changes the dynamics of the love triangle between my character Georgette, my husband Michele, played by Brett Peart, and Louise, my lover.”

Chelsea Burns.
Camera IconChelsea Burns.

Burns recently returned to WA — like many artists — as borders closed, and happily was on a break.

“She’s engaged to one of the baritones in the show, Lachlann Lawton, so it’s convenient that she’s seen the show which makes it much easier to get her trained up,” Taylor says.

“It’s a tragic love story because it’s an unhappy ending. I’d love to play a happy queer story but it is opera!

“It’s going to be great — I’m just glad we can finish the show.”

Already a WA-premiere, The Cloak —Il Tabarro in the original Italian — sung in English will be even more experimental than before, says Taylor, who is also co-producer with Peart.

“I totally trust our director Brendan Hanson, Chelsea, and the rest of the cast to be able to go on with an adjusted show on Wednesday, even though it’s going to be a crazy few days for all of us,” she says.

“And being queer myself, I’m very excited to play out this modernised, more diverse love story with another woman.”

Lachlann Lawton in The Cloak and Dagger.
Camera IconLachlann Lawton in The Cloak and Dagger.

The Cloak is on a double bill with cabaret show, Dagger, with design by Jake Pitcher and musical direction by George Unkovich, aboard The Crystal Swan, at Jetty 5, Barrack Square.

Tickets from fringeworld.com.au.

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