Tag Archives | Lyndon Terracini

Save Us From Any Further Opera Company Crises

Can you imagine telling internationally renowned theatre director, Peter Sellars, that he is wrong?  Well I am about to.  But read this first:


Forget the out-of-context number reporting.  It’s not salient to the real issue.  Sure, it’s bad that ENO’s income is down £6 million pounds year-on-year and that the previously reported ad nauseum financial fortunes of the opera company have been pretty dire for a long period. But that’s not the point.  This is: it’s not about classification Mr. Sellars, or whether or not you ascribe to the spurious notion that “There’s not one theatre or opera company that can sell out anything anymore.”  Actually lots of things ‘sell out’ but only when you create demand. To understand what drives demand in delivering entertainment, you have to ascribe to the theory of recursion – in this sense: the process of repeating success in a self-similar way. Which is why Mr. Sellars’ observation is so interesting – because his work is so successful on so many levels. If you have ever seen this luminary director’s Mozart opera productions, or his vision for György Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre, you’ll know what I mean.

So to this news clipping. What is causing the problem with ENO – and any other number of opera companies around the world – whose efforts are desultory at best a lot of the time or, at worst, uninformed (and out of touch) with the changing face of media and entertainment?  It’s the people, of course, making the decisions.  They don’t use any meta-data analytics or other research tools to inform them about what audiences want (and DEMAND), they just make ‘artistic decisions’ based on ‘knowing’ what is right for their company or organisation.  THEY DON’T KNOW!  Ignorance is absolutely not a virtue.  It never was, but now it’s just downright irresponsible. Continue Reading →

Australian Opera: New Directions?

Lyndon_TerraciniThe 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.

Continue Reading →