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With its 20-metre high pagoda and fire breathing dragon, designer Dan Potra’s set for the Handa Opera on the Harbour production of Turandot is a dramatic new addition to the Sydney skyline. Usually, when the annual Harbour production closes, the elaborate sets are permanently retired, but a different fate awaits the epic Chinese-inspired staging of the current show. Once this year’s production closes, the two main set elements will be on their way to new homes on the other side of the world.
However, it’s not a love of Puccini that has saved this year’s set from the rubbish dump, but a passion for cult television. A vague similarity to the sci-fi adversaries of Doctor Who – the Daleks – has inspired a British super-fan of the hit TV show to make Opera Australia an offer to purchase the towering pagoda. The identity of the man behind the sale, who is allegedly based in the UK town of Romford, Essex, is currently undisclosed, although insider sources at Opera Australia have revealed the buyers PayPal account name is firstname.lastname@example.org, adding, “The guy saw the tower from pretty far away apparently, and he had really thick glasses when he came in to negotiate the sale, so I hope he’s not disappointed when it finally arrives.”
What Daleks actually look like.
In a bizarre coincidence the set’s striking dragon – one of the most complicated set elements ever constructed by Opera Australia’s talented team of stage technicians – has also been bought, by a consortium of Chinese business investors. However, while it may be headed to its cultural homeland, the future of this fire-breathing marvel is not what you might expect. Instead of remaining a part of Puccini’s Chinese love story, the dragon is set to become a new addition to a Game of Thrones theme park currently under construction on the outskirts of Shanghai.
And it’s not just the set that’s been bought by avid collectors. Another anonymous buyer has purchased the seat sat on by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who attended the production’s opening night last week. While rumours are so far unsubstantiated, insider whispers have suggested the buyer could be the Honourable Julie Bishop MP.