Opera Australia Blog

Weekly round up: Opera news at home and abroad


Joyce DiDonato, photo by Josef Fischnaller

A weekly round up of opera news at home and abroad: opera for babies, a storm over female conductors, and the Met’s general manager draws his line in the sand.

Around the web this week:

  • Respected mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato says opera companies should stop trying to sell “our music” by dumbing it down. “Sell opera on the basis that it is like nothing else on the planet,” she told the UK Telegraph.
  • Meanwhile, longtime arts journalist Deborah Jones has written a measured opinion piece on the difficulties of programming that can be loosely summed up in her own words: “Why I wouldn’t be Lyndon Terracini for quids”. Click here to read the logic behind that bold statement.
  • A male conductor has caused an international storm by saying female conductors distract orchestras. Vasily Petrenko believes “a cute girl on a podium means that musicians think about other things.”
  • General Manager of the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Peter Gelb, has written a rousing editorial for Bloomberg.com, affirming the Met’s commitment to programming for audiences:

“Opera cannot exist in a vacuum. While experimentation is essential, we must also have the widespread support of the public, particularly when we have thousands of seats to fill in the larger opera houses.” – Peter Gelb

Click HERE to read the full piece.

  • Musical superstar Mandy Patinkin and American baritone Nathan Gunn have announced they will tour Australia and New Zealand giving recitals of opera, musical and pop classics. The concerts are in November and will take in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland.
  • The Guardian is nearly halfway through its A-Z of Wagner in the year of the composer’s 200th anniversary. If you want to compete with ring-nuts in this auspicious year, this is a great resource for growing your Wagner knowledge. This month, it’s ‘M is for Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.
  • And lastly, an old article but an eternal question: how early is too early to introduce children to opera? A couple of forward-thinking programmers around the world have created “Opera for Babies” productions. Do you think opera has room for its own equivalent of Baby Proms?

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