Thursday, October 07, 2010

Wagner City

Tonight I went with BN and KN to the Victorian Wagner Society meeting at MLC. The speaker was Lyndon Terracini, the new Artistic Director of Opera Australia (OA). He was there mainly to talk about the recently announced Ring cycle to be performed in Melbourne in 2013 but spoke about opera in Australia in general and in Melbourne in particular.

He said there were two main reasons that the cycles will be done in Melbourne: the first is the obvious matter of a suitable theatre; the second (which surprised me) was that Terracini is of the opinion that Wagner fits Melbourne's cultural life better than Sydney's. In fact the plans are to make Melbourne the Wagner centre for the Southern Hemisphere.

The Melbourne Ring (as they are calling it) will be a tri-ennial event from 2013 to 2019 after which it is planned to have a new production. As well OA plans to include at least one other Wagner opera in each year's Spring season in Melbourne in the years between each cycle year. (I hope I'm making it clear.) They hope to form a Wagner orchestra for these performances which will give training to young players and develop a level of experience and performance practice amongst local musicians.

In response to comments from the audience about the 2011 Melbourne opera season being fairly pedestrian he made it clear that he agreed (making it clear that when he took up his position all except the new Bohème were already programmed) and said he was committed to bringing the current Sydney-only productions of Der Rosenkavalier and Peter Grimes to Melbourne in the near future. He went on to declare a commitment that the company would also produce at least one Australian work each year, including newly commissioned operas and revivals (and in some cases reworkings) of such works as Batavia, Mer de Glace and The Eighth Wonder.

In all it was a very interesting night and much more optimistic than I expected.



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