When Miss Tina Fortune’s parents lose their money, she determines to make her own way in the world. But will she be able to escape the machinations of Fate?
Judith Weir’s opera questions what it means to be rich or poor, and the effect of luck and accident on human lives. Miss Fortune had its premiere at the Bregenz Festival in summer 2011, before coming to the Royal Opera House in 2012. The plot is based on a Sicilian folktale Sfortuna (Misfortune) about a woman plagued by bad luck. Weir updates the story so that it has modern relevance – references to plunging stock markets, sweatshops and urban riots root Miss Fortune firmly in the 21st century.
Chen Shi-Zheng, who directed Damon Albarn’s Monkey: Journey to the West, presents a visually stunning production. Hassan sings an aria in praise of the dawn, with a beautiful city skyline behind him. The score is richly-coloured and contrasts the dark energy of Fate – who menacingly echoes Tina – with the tender music of some of the human characters, such as the warm-hearted Simon and Tina herself. The opera is filled with wry humour: Simon sings a paean to his freshly pressed shirt and a launderette provides a gateway to another world.