Telling Andrew Collis of Victoria Point that he has the capacity to be evil and manipulative means he is playing his role as Nourabad in The Pearlfishers with aplomb.
The seasoned bass has adapted well to the part which has been transformed in Opera Queensland's newest production from a blood thirsty Brahman priest to a slave dealing colonialist which sells women to plantation owners.
"He's not the iconic bad guy, but he has his own agenda and offers you something to put your teeth into. He provides a dynamic counterbalance to the lyrical French music," Collis said.
Collis describes The Pearlfishers as a beautiful and, at times, confusing production.
"This production however tells the story with clarity. It is easy for the audience to understand what goes and on and why," he said.
Collis's next production is in Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore where he plays Sir Roderic Murgatroyd, again with Opera Queensland in July.
"It's a 19th century melodrama with characters with twirling moustaches. It should be fun and a high octane show. Half of the cast are actors," he said.
The Pearlfishers story takes place during pearl diving season in colonial Ceylon where old friends Zurga and Nadir reminisce about Léïla, a woman they both loved and who re-enters their lives when racketeer Nourabad brings a beautiful priestess to bless the fishermen.
Georges Bizet’s famous opera has been reinterpreted many times since its first performance on 30 September 1863 at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris. In this production, director Michael Gow gives it a new lease of life, while the vivid sets and ornate costumes by set and costume designer Robert Kemp evoke the exotic and enchanting setting of colonial Ceylon.
The Pearlfishers comes to QPAC from May 25 to June 3.
Tickets are $54 to $185. Book on 136 246. More on operaq.com.au