Tom Waits' Black Rider Comes To Melbourne In 2017

14 September 2016 | 12:03 pm | Staff Writer

The avant-garde musical theatre masterpiece will star Meow Meow and Paul Capsis

Victorian Opera has announced its 2017 season and its good news for Tom Waits fans. The Melbourne-based opera company will be partnering with Malthouse Theatre to present The Black Rider: The Casting of Magic Bullets, Waits’ Weimar cabaret infused music theatre piece about a man who makes a pact with the Devil.

Described as a “musical fable”, Waits and Burroughs began work on the avant-garde stage work in 1988. It tells the story of Wilhelm, a lowly clerk who falls in love with a huntsman’s daughter. To win the hand of his prospective bride he must prove his talents as a hunter, but being “a man of pen and ink,” his skills with a gun are woeful. To improve his chances he makes a deal with the Devil to obtain magic bullets that always hit their target, save for one, which will always be under the Devil’s spell. Needless to say, things do not end well for Wilhelm or his beloved.

The Back Rider premiered in 1990 in Hamburg and has since been toured all over the world by a number of international theatre companies. It last came to Australia in 2004, when UK producers Cultural Industry presented it at the Sydney Festival.

This new Australian production will star Aussie cabaret icons Meow Meow and Paul Capsis, and operatic tenor Kanen Breen. It will be directed by Malthouse Theatre artistic director Matthew Lutton, opening at The Coopers Malthouse, 15 Sep – 8 Oct 2017.

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