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Peter Coleman-Wright and Merlyn Quaife during a dress rehearsal of Bliss in 2010: it is one of few important local operas over the past three decades to have been staged a second time. Tracey Nearmy/AAP

Friday essay: where is the Great Australian Opera?

Australian operas have been written about many pressing topics - from the Stolen Generations to the Lindy Chamberlain case - but few have been staged a second time. What is going wrong?
Martin Winkler and Virgilio Marino in Opera Australia’s 2018 production of The Nose at the Sydney Opera House. Prudence Upton

Barrie Kosky’s nose for the inventive and surreal makes for an outstanding production of The Nose

Expatriate Australian director Barrie Kosky and Shostakovich's modernist opera The Nose seem made for each other. It was sung in an expressive English translation - and the tap-dancing noses brought the house down.
Jake Arditti (Nero) in Coronation of Poppea: the production is a haze of drug-fuelled violence, erotic drive, and dog eat dog power plays. Brett Boardman

Pinchgut’s Poppea plays hedonism, violence and passion to the hilt

The Monteverdi opera exploring passion in ancient Rome has been transposed to a contemporary gangster setting in a new Sydney production.
Opera is treated differently to other artforms in Australia. AAP Image/Tracey NearmyAAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Does opera deserve its privileged status within arts funding?

It is a strange reality but opera as an artform is always given special and arguably preferential treatment by governments and other influential forces in Western society. This happens, it seems, regardless…
Saul at the Adelaide Festival: the early scenes feel like hallucinatory dreamscapes unanchored in space. Tony Lewis

Barrie Kosky’s Saul: a masterpiece of operatic staging

With its themes of family dysfunction, love, death, madness and the supernatural, this Old Testament story is ready-made for opera.

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