Music Australia News

Opera is no place for experimentation

Opera Australia’s forthcoming Turandot in August Credit: Opera Australia
Graham Strahle
| April 27, 2015

Martin Buzacott says the sad truth about opera is that composers need to capitulate to writing melodies and sticking to plot and character formulas if they have any hope of writing a successful new operatic work. He writes in his blog The Buzz on Sinfini Music that the opera stage is “no place for experimentalists” and that this has been the case throughout history. “Like it or loathe it, operas in big theatres are commercial enterprises,” he concludes.

Buzacott defends Opera Australia’s director Lyndon Terracini against critics who complain that he is “not presenting, or reviving, more Australian operas”, saying he has no choice but to work within commercial realities.

“Terracini has spent his entire career, as both singer and administrator, championing the cause of modern music. He’s not the type to dash the hopes of local operatic pretenders without good reasons,” Buzacott writes.

He warns that the National Opera Review headed by Helen Nugent might end up only reviving “the perennial ‘buy Australian’ campaign in opera-politics”.

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