SHOWBUSINESS ROCK OPERA SUCCESS FOR STAVROS AND DOROS Sellout in S. Africa The world premiere performance of the rock opera “The Archon” was presented in Johannes- burg this week ta a sell- aut audience at the Civic Theatre, The million-dollar pro- duction was given a tre- mendous response by the first night theatre goers and it loaks as if the opera may be presented in Europe and America when what 1s expected to be a tong run comes to an end in south Africa. The Archon” is a science-fiction fantasy written by Greek Cypriot Stavros Sideras with music by his compatriot (and, in- cidentally, brother-in-law) Doros Georgiades, one of Greece's top composers. Stavros Sideras The double album of the work has been out in South Africa for a month now, and is expected to be released world-wide. Halen of Troy Sideras and Geor- giades are currently wark- ing on another rock opera, especially commissianed, which takes the story of Helen of Troy as its theme. Comparisons between the two Cypriots and the crea- tors of “Jesus Christ Super- Star are already being made and it looks as if Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd- Webber may have serious rivals in the rock opera stakes if “The Archon takes off world-wide. At the opening perfor- mance, the two composers were given an ovation by the packed house and it is possible that they will defer their return to Greece, where they live, in order to extend their capperation with PACT, the organisa- tian behind the first-ever production of “The Ar- chon’. . Merle Oberon who died last week atthe age of 68 will be best remembered for her unusual almond eyes and the romantic roles she played in films in the ‘30's and “40's. Born Estelle O'Brien Merle Thompson in Tasma- nia she was educated in In- dia and came to Britain at the age of 17. She found herself a job as a dance hostess at the Cafe de Paris and began to pick up work as a film extra when she was spotted by the produ- cer Alexander Korda. Korda, whom she later married, got her to change her name to Merle Oberon and gave her a five year contract. Her first big role in 1933 was Anne Boleyn in ‘The Private Lives of Henry Vill’. Charles Laughton played Henry and-four ye- ars later they were both to star in the ill-fated ‘I Claudi- us’ directed by Josef von Sternberg. After a chapter of accidents the film was fi- a Merle Oberon as Josephine and Marlon Brando as Napoleon in a scene from ‘Desirae’ nally abandoned when Merle Oberon was serious- ly injured in a road acci- dent, Romanthe dramas {n the 1930's and throu- phout the Second World ar she made films in Hol- lywood and Britain. Most of them were.romantic or costume dramas including ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’ with Leslie Howard and eure Heights” with Laurence Dlivier. She also made several comedies such as ‘The Divorce of Lady X' (with Olivier again} and ‘That Uncertain Feel- Ing . in 1945 her marriage to Korda was dissolved and she disappeared from the screen to appear only now and again in secondary roles such as Josephine to Marlon Brando's Napoleon in ‘Desiree’. By 1957 she had marri- ed a Mexican steel tycoon, Bruno Pagliai and almost completely abandoned films to become a society hostess. MERLE OBERON: From dance hostess to film star to rich socialite oe Lavish parties She appeared as Mad- ame Bruno Pagliai in the pages of ‘Vogue’ and ‘Har- pers Bazaar’ modelling clothes agd personal je- wellery worth a small for- tune, and anterained lavishly with the Duke of Edinburgh and Britain's Prince Charles on the quest list of her parties, as well as ald friends such as Hen- ry Ford and Noel Coward. She appeared briefly in two films in the 1960's, ‘The Oscar’ and ‘Hotel, which will be shown on CBC Television this Sunday evening, and also acted and produced a Mexican film called ‘Interval’ in 1973, In the film she played a middle-aged widow who falls for a younger man. Two years later her marri- age to Pagliai broke up and she married the young Dutch co-star of. ‘Interval’, Robert Wolders. It was Ingrid Bergman's night, and no less than Frank Sinatra was on hand to sing to her. Miss Bergman became the 4th person to be honoured by the Varie- ty Club International this week during a star-studded evening which was taped by Columbla Groadcasing Company (CBS) and whichwill be on the American network next Thursday. Miss Bergman joins John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor and Jimmy Stewart to be so honoured. (UPI)