Reading an article in the Fall 2011 edition of Opera America, written by John Conklin: the eminent American Stage Designer and recipient of the NEA Opera Honour in 2011, I was struck by a comment made by Mr. Conklin that initially I thought was rather dubious in the face of generally far-reaching insight. Continue Reading →
The following article taken from artsHub.com.au 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.
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 →