Australian Opera: New Directions?

Lyndon_TerraciniThe following article taken from is interesting on many levels.  At a very simple level, it is an incisive commentary on the general malaise besetting world opera, although the beleaguered Opera Australia is far behind the strategic advancements of some companies in Europe, UK and the USA.  The late Mexican composer, Daniel Catán, has previously and eruditely commented on many of the same issues through the auspice of Opera America, so none of Lyndon Terracini’s commentary really comes as much of a surprise. Notwithstanding, if it reflects a coming change in wind direction for Australian Opera in general, then its timing is welcomed?

On other levels, Lyndon’s address regrettably doesn’t go far enough in developing a discourse around why no Australian opera has ever entered the repertoire?  I have a suspicion, however, that the forthcoming new version of Brenton Broadstock’s Fahrenheit 451 might change this.

Notwithstanding being given opportunities to have work presented, where does one go in Australia to learn how to write for the operatic stage or musical theatre stage (a topic I have, equally, to my own chagrin ‘danced-around’ in previous posts on this site).  Here’s the answer: You can’t, because not one single Conservatorium in this fair land has approbated, let alone identified, that this is sorely needed.  All these issues are, as one might suspect, interconnected and interrelated.  Or more colloquially: It ain’t simple!

And one more thing, before you read on to Lyndon’s well constructed thoughts, I would still like to see someone tackle the issue of training opera conductors in Australia.  I was lucky.  I got to do my training in and internship overseas with some of the great opera conductors, but I’d hate to be starting out now – and living in Australia.

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Cyril Ornadel: The Doyen of British Musical Theatre Direction

Pickwick LP Cover
I just have to note the passing of the great British Musical Director and Composer, Cyril Ornadel (1924-2011) who passed away on June 22.

Cyril Ornadel (born 2 December 1924) was a British conductor, songwriter and composer chiefly in musical theatre.  Born in London, he studied at the Royal College of Music.  As well as being musical director for a number of major West End shows, he composed several musicals of his own, including Pickwick (1963) (lyrics by Leslie Bricusse), starring Sir Harry Secombe, Great Expectations (1975) starring Sir John Mills; both adapted from Charles Dickens, and Treasure Island (1973) adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson. Great Expectations and Treasure Island (both with lyrics by Hal Shaper) were designated Best British Musical at the Ivor Novello Awards. Continue Reading →

“The Mapmaker’s Opera (A New Musical)”

MapMakersOpera_Cue_25_Screen_ShotIt is with both relief and subdued excitement that we can announce the new Kazan/Purcell Musical, The Mapmaker’s Opera; based on the novel of the same name by Canadian author, Béa Gonzalez, is finally underway.

For those of you who do not know this novel, go buy it and read!

I know this has been on the backburner for far too long, and too many followers and fans of Rebecca-The Musical had given up all hope that I would ever start this piece, but the good news is that music and demos are forthcoming. The MMO web site needs some serious updating which we’ll be doing in the near future and lots of new content will be added.

So, what are the main issues to have caused the unprecedented delay in moving this project forward? In a word – FLAMENCO! Continue Reading →

“The Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space” PART 1

Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and SpaceI am absolutely thrilled to be part of the nine-person international jury for the forthcoming Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space – affectionately referred to as ‘PQ11’

Centred around a competitive world exhibition of theatre design (sound, sets, lights, projection and new technologies) with 62 countries represented, the upcoming edition of the Prague Quadrennial (the 12th) will also showcase designs from Continue Reading →

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