Alice comes to Langwarrin

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By Renee Wood

Langwarrin’s Cruden Farm will welcome the Australian Contemporary Opera Company on Sunday 20 February for an Australian premiere of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’.

The production was first commissioned by London’s Opera Holland Park and was performed for five years to sell-out crowds in London.

The show features many characters from the popular fantasy although, ACOCo’s Artistic Director Linda Thompson said the story line has been brought into modern times.

“It starts off in a modern day setting and then falls into the familiar story where all the characters from the book appear,” Ms Thompson said.

“It’s just slightly modernised in the sense that a few little surprises are in there, which really appeal to a modern audience.

“As soon as you walk through the gates, you’re in another world. I think that people like to explore and it’s a really important part of the experience to be able to wander around and take some time to relax.”

The characters of Alice, the Mad Hatter and White Rabbit also help to connect an audience who may be first time attendees to an opera performance.

Audience members will enjoy watching a talented cast with performers coming from across the world.

Alice is played by doctoral student, Melissa Davis, who is now living in Victoria but was born in the US and other characters are also played by very established international singers.

“Christopher Tonkin has been singing in Germany and is now back here and he’s the white rabbit. Heather Fletcher who sings the Mad Hatter is also another American living in Victoria,” Ms Thompson said.

“Many of the other younger singers have either studied or performed nationally and internationally as well. So it’s a really a dynamic and very well-travelled cast.”

Adults and children alike will enjoy the contemporary opera, as it’s written in English and appeals to a broad range of audiences – stepping away from a formal opera into a relaxed picnic environment.

The production was written to be performed outdoors and attendees are invited to bring picnic chairs, rugs or cushions to sit on.

Ms Thompson said the production is “absolutely perfect” for these times.

“We needed to find something that would encourage people to come and feel safe and feel good, and also to be amazed by what contemporary opera can be.”

The gardens of Cruden Farm will be open for ticket holders to enjoy before the 2pm show, and after the 5pm performance.

The property consists of manicured gardens and peaceful walking areas, including the Picking Garden and the Walled Garden, all set amongst bushland and lakes.

Tickets are available at