8 November 2011
Peggy Glanville-Hicks address by Lyndon Terracini
This year's Peggy Glanville-Hicks address was presented in Sydney (2 November) and Melbourne (11 November) by the artistic director of Opera Australia, baritone Lyndon Terracini, on the topic of 'Populism as Art and the Art of Populism'. The address is now available in its entirety on the Opera Australia website.
In his speech, Terracini called for brave and innovative programming but warned against creating new work that has little relevance with potential new audiences:
'...we will need to balance our performance styles very cleverly so that we continue to satisfy our existing audience but at the same time play in a style that connects to the new audiences that are so important to our future. Then when we are creating new work we really need to get over this cultural cringe of desperately trying to create an opera that Alban Berg may have written if he were still alive. The premiere performance will of course get rave reviews, very few people will buy a ticket, and then it will never be played again... primarily because it's too expensive and the European aesthetic which we are presenting will appeal only to a very small audience....and most of those people have complimentary tickets!'
'That is then considered to be "brave programming" - it's not. It's predictable and it lacks courage, innovation and creativity. Brave programming is having the courage to programme what critics will criticise you for, but will make a genuine connection to a real audience, who will become passionate supporters of the art form. As someone who has probably performed the leading role in more operas by contemporary composers than any other Australian, I can say with a certain amount of coalface knowledge that for too long we have alienated audiences and driven them away from new operatic experiences because the work itself has had little relevance to a potential audience, and in some cases not wanted to find an audience. There have been too many instances when new operas have been exercises in indulgence for academic composers - most of whom have no experience or understanding of the theatre or the operatic form.'
The Peggy Glanville-Hicks Address was established in 1999 by the New Music Network in honour of one of Australia's great international composers. It is an annual forum for ideas relating to the creation and performance of Australian music. In the spirit of the great Australian composer Peggy Glanville-Hicks, an outstanding advocate of Australian music delivers the address each year, challenging the status quo and raising issues of importance in new music.
© Australian Music Centre (2011) — Permission must be obtained from the AMC if you wish to reproduce this article either online or in print.
The Australian Music Centre connects people around the world to Australian composers and sound artists. By facilitating the performance, awareness and appreciation of music by these creative artists, it aims to increase their profile and the sustainability of their art form. Established in 1974, the AMC is now the leading provider of information, resources, materials and products relating to Australian new music.
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