Sunday, November 22, 2009

Go for gold!

Read Marcus Westbury’s column in today’s Age(Monday, November 23rd)in the arts section where he makes comments on Lyndon Terracini’s views vis-à-vis the directions he, Lyndon, will take as the new Artistic Director of Opera Australia to which I say ‘well done Lyndon and more power to you’.

Much have I travelled in the realms of gold and as a result have found golden opportunities. Westbury is perceptive and incisive. I like it.

There are winds of change blowing and I’d like to tell you that we are part of making that change and causing some new interest in the way in which opera is perceived. By ‘we’ I mean Victorian Opera, for although my principal position at the moment is to write a blog I do have a day job which keeps me very busy, namely Music Director at Victorian Opera.

How are we contributing to cultural change? I assessed the operatic scene here in Victoria in 2005 and decided that a new company had a golden opportunity to present a variety of work rarely or previously unseen and unheard work in this part of the world; a golden opportunity to build a youth opera company as part of our education and outreach; a golden opportunity to go into venues outside the usual venues; a golden opportunity to tour to regional Victoria; a golden opportunity to include special events in our program; a golden opportunity to use talent in a new way and try some new talent and so on.

We at Victorian Opera commission a new work from an Australian composer and librettist every year and by the end of 2010 will have performed six Australian works. We have just begun a liaison with Chambermade Opera centred on the development of new work and have received an encouraging response from a huge number of composers and librettists. We now have two youth opera companies; Company X and Company Y. X is the unknown factor – young singers from the age of 7 to 18 who are interested in singing and Company Y – Why do you want to do this? - let’s find out why – a company for 18 year olds to 25 year olds.
We have had two tours to outer-urban and regional Victoria with terrific response from the punters.

We work in lots of venues and we will present our edgiest season so far next year and the punters are telling us that they like it. How do we know?
Subscriptions are up hugely; like seriously hugely.

Tomorrow night, Tuesday 24th November, I’ll go the Dandenongs a golden opportunity, and conduct a choral festival with over 300 primary-school children who will sing their own freshly composed music together with some folk songs and other material. Guess what? Lots of parents will be there! Guess what? Guess who is comparing the show? You guessed. Guess what he’ll be talking about. Golden song, golden voices and golden opportunities for parents and children

We are strongly supported by the enlightened Victorian Government and some equally enlightened and wonderful sponsors and golden patrons – all these people are gold. Go make a golden opportunity for yourself and see our website. We are making changes to the way this country perceives opera. Slowly, steadily surely and goldenly. You can shout GLORIA for opera in Victoria especially with this golden company.


  1. You can find the article here

  2. Gold, Richard. It truly is. I now wish I were 16 again and were being given the sorts of opportunities that young Victorians are now enjoying. This is the first time I have EVER wished I were 16 again, btw! Anyone who says opera is dying out is just plain wrong. I love your determination to educate Australia about music and to ensure ongoing and increasing audiences for our art. Gold!

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