Opera Australia Blog

Weekly round up: Should opera companies be activists?

Stefanie Jones and Danielle O'Malley from the cast of South Pacific on board the HMAS Huon at HMAS Waterhen. Photo by: ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez

Stefanie Jones and Danielle O’Malley from the cast of South Pacific on board the HMAS Huon at HMAS Waterhen. Photo by: ABIS Nicolas Gonzalez

The Met attracts international attention on an international issue, a best-selling novel gets the operatic treatment and the cast of South Pacific have a real Navy experience.

Should opera companies be activists? The Metropolitan Opera of New York has been in the spotlight this month over its production of Eugene Onegin, in the light of moves by the Russian government to restrict the rights of homosexual people. The production features several Russian artists and was written by Tchaikovsky, who many consider to have been gay.

Protesters picketed the Opera House demanding the Met denounce the Russian government.

The ever-articulate Peter Gelb of The Met has written a passionate piece explaining why the Met won’t be drawn into the battle.

“ …as an arts institution, the Met is not the appropriate vehicle for waging nightly battles against the social injustices of the world.

Over the course of our nine-month season, artists from dozens of different countries — some with poor human rights records — will be performing at the Met. If we were to devote tonight’s performance to Russian injustice, how could we possibly stop there?”

READ the entire piece here.

  • WATCH: Brilliant! Opera singers and technology combine to make a public human piano.
  • High art meets popular culture on the Sydney Opera House steps: Opera Australia and DJ Dan Murphy collaborated to organise an incredible flash dance on the steps of Sydney Opera House to promote the current production of South Pacific. Get a sneak peak here and stay tuned to see the resulting video!
  • The Monthly has published a lengthy piece about Opera Australia’s Melbourne Ring Cycle 2013, detailing some of director Neil Armfield’s vision. Read our exclusive interview with the director here.
  • Minnesota Opera has announced its commission of The Shining, a new opera based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel. The opera, by composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell will premiere in 2016.

“King’s novel is naturally operatic: it sings,” said Moravec. “It features the classic elements of operatic conflict, notably the power of love in the face of extraordinary evil and destructive forces. It’s a joy to imagine the musical form of this timeless contest, along with the story’s evocation of terror and the supernatural.”

READ the announcement here.

  • Finally, freelance photographer James Sharrock has posted a blog showing off some of his best images from his time photographing opera in Australia.

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments!

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