Articles on Opera

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Performers in Speechless, a new opera by composer Cat Hope, co-commissioned by the Perth Festival and Tura New Music. The opera is a response to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s 2014 report into children in immigration detention. Toni Wilkinson

In a notoriously sexist art form, Australian women composers are making their voices heard

Despite the exclusion of their creative work from mainstream opera companies, Australian women composers are creating spaces for themselves, writing work that tackles urgent social issues.
South African soprano Pretty Yende (L) & Mexican tenor Javier Camarena during a rehearsal of ‘I puritani’ in Spain, 2018. EPA-EFE/Quique Garcia

How South Africans forged a path to making opera truly African

Realism and addressing pressing contemporary South African societal issues have been the focus of local opera since 1995.
Soprano Jane Sheldon in La Passion de Simone. Kaija Saariaho’s work had its Australian premiere at the 2019 Sydney Festival, performed by the Sydney Chamber Opera. Victor Frankowski

La Passion de Simone brings Simone Weil’s sufferings to life, but the movements feel static

The Australian premiere of La Passion de Simone uses multiple voices to tell a story about philosopher Simone Weil. But the work lacks the emotional drama of its subject's life.
The cast of Opera Australia’s 2018 production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Arts Centre Melbourne. Jeff Busby

A knowing, modern yet mythic production of one of Hitler’s favourite operas

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (The Mastersingers of Nuremburg) is a long, complex work. An ensemble performance by Opera Australia transports Wagner’s 16th-century guild of mastersingers to a modern-day men’s club.
Othello and Desdemona, Henri Jean-Baptiste Victoire Fradelle, circa 1827. Wikimedia

Decoding the music masterpieces: Rossini’s opera, Otello

“They have been crucifying Othello into an opera,” Lord Byron later wrote after watching Rossini's opera. But the performance does much to highlight the play's racial politics.
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?

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