State Opera South Australia’s ongoing series The Lost Operas of Oz continues with Graeme Koehne and Louis Nowra’s chamber opera Love Burns. Premiered at the 1992 Adelaide Festival by the Seymour Group, it has had a few revivals since then. My introduction to the work dates back to 1998 and the co-production between OzOpera and Company B Belvoir (as it was then), directed effectively by Neil Armfield. Due to its relatively short running time (65 minutes), it was then cleverly coupled with Bernstein’s equally brief suburban opera, Trouble in Tahiti,directed by Lindy Hume. State Opera has chosen to present it in an ingenious stand-alone production directed by Nicholas Cannon within what could almost be described as a rather rudimentary warehouse space with a small cast of singers on a slightly raised stage and the 10-piece orchestra on the floor in front of them.


Love Burns, State Opera South Australia , 2021 Photo Soda Street Productions

Premiered in the same year as its librettist’s popular play Cosi, which is set inside a mental institution wherein the inmates decide to perform Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte, the libretto shares much in common with plenty of sardonic and black humour. The plot...