Friday, January 23, 2009

OA the future 2

Well it didn't take long. Not content with no longer having Richard Hickox on whom to vent spleen, the outcry over Opera Australia's artistic future continues in today's Crikey which publishes a letter, thanks to "Phantom of the Opera" (leaks to Crikey of opera discontent are always pseudonymous) under the heading

Singer Fiona Janes addresses Opera Australia issues in a letter to Chairman Ziggy Zwitkowski."

What it lacks in veracity, it certainly makes up for in titillation. And it looks like Fantom Fiona will settle for information from the Sydney Morning Herald in preference to the source.


(Heading correct; this is media, arts and sport)

Opera Australia: new panel is "cosmetic"
Phantom of the opera writes:

Barry Kosky hoed into Opera Australia this week, calling it a "disaster" and "a juggernaut out of control", a view with which may (sic) opera lovers would concur.

Fiona Janes is the singer running the campaign against the current management. While she has a personal axe to grind and might reasonably be described as disaffected, she makes much sense. And she’s spot on about the construction of OA chairman Ziggy’s Zwitkowski’s committee to appoint a panel to choose a new musical director.

This is the letter:

Dear Ziggy,

(Dear Ziggy?)

A very interesting piece in today's SMH regarding the panel that will decide the future of Opera Australia. Might I point out just a couple of glaring problems!

Firstly there is no representative from what you call the side of the "dissidents" or the "democratic" opera side yet six (there are five) from yours or Adrians.

Secondly, Yvonne Kenny was one of the singers responsible for getting rid of Simone and personally brought Hickox in with a few others. While I have the greatest respect for her as an artist it is true that she has a lot at stake right now -- career wise and very much in with Adrian therefore will do anything to accommodate.

Neil Armfeld -- Adrian's favourite director isn't going to rock the boat.

David Malouf has proved quite openly that he will do anything to tow the line and support the bad decision making of Adrian and the board.

Trevor Green was a Hickox friend and outspoken against the "democrats".

Jonathon Summers -- fine artist but again a fence sitter and pal of Adrian's.

As Sarah Billinghurst was part of the last decision making I do not have great faith their (sic) either -- also an Adrian pal and pal of various favourite singers.

The only reasonable choice is Richard Mills.

So in all I'd say the Board has played it very safe for their side and probably got the majority of names from Adrian and his cronies.

I am very aware that senior members of Arts organisation have spoken with you and some have said you must start all over again. The growing distrust for Adrian now is extraordinary so any recommendations he has made will simply be self-serving whereas Kirsti and I expect nothing.

This is a frosted coated panel that will simply do whatever the Board and Adrian want. How widely they canvas and absorb disparate opinion is another thing altogether. I only hope they are able to listen to all sides and all those patrons, sponsors, subscribers, artists and senior members within the artistic community who have been rallying behind the scenes for an honest and fair change.

Frankly I do not believe this to be a true and fair representation of the operatic community. Is Adrian to still rule the roost when the company has failed so miserably artistically and financially (never let facts get in the way of a good rant) under his poor leadership? The question of Adrian not being part of the structure somehow in the background is pure fantasy. How is this improving OA and it's general public image when he is the problem? You will simply get more of the same. I guess Rowena is still having her way -- more the pity.

I was under the impression from you that there maybe some hope for better things -- sadly this panel seems purely cosmetic.

Best wishes,


Why does Crikey publish this tosh?


Anonymous said...

In fairness to Richard Mills: he isn't "just" a composer. He's also been the artistic director of the West Australian Opera for at least ten years and his conducting work also includes opera. He's in a very good position to make a constructive and sensible contribution.

wanderer said...

Point taken Y. It wasn't ever that I thought he shouldn't be there so much as surprise that he was the only one left standing.

Anonymous said...

You cannot predict alignments on such shallow accusations of prejudice.Under well guided stewardship a serious discussion on the nature and strucrure of the opera could encourage a wideranging and fruitful debate.Let us not prejudge everyone in a mean spirit and help the debate by remaining adult and not prejudicial

Anonymous said...

Your obviously one of the Opera Australia HandBags, hanging on for dear life to an excuse.