18 March, 2009

Musings on 2 different themes

Samuel Dundas as Don Giovanni
(credit - http://onstagemelbourne.blogspot.com/2009/03/review-don-giovanni-victorian-opera.html)

Last Saturday night I went to the opera to see Don Giovanni - this is only the second opera I have ever been to, and I enjoyed it very much. The Victorian State Opera is four years old now and building a repetoire and growing young musicians - and this is not just words. The conductor was Nicholas Carter, who has was accepted into the Developing Artist Program with Victorian Opera in 2006, and the lead role of Don Giovanni was performed by Samuel Dundas, a 24 year old singer. The opera company is creating a new sort of company - one that encourages partnerships, takes operas out to the suburbs and regional Victoria and who is engaging a new audience for opera through such programs as sing your own opera community events, Discover Opera programs hosted by Richard Gill, of Operatunity fame, and programs designed for schools.

It got me thinking about how we continually need to reinvent ourselves, offer programs and services that will appeal to our audience and think of ways to grow that audience by doing new and different things. When organisations do this, there is energy and a sense of excitement.

The other quite unrelated musing was about Australia's Public Lending Right. We are one of only 25 countries in the world that compensates its authors for public and educational libraries holding their works - the scheme was introduced in the 1980s. I have recently joined the PLR Committee, which has responsibility under the PLR Act for determining the eligibility of claimants, the amount of payment to a claimant, approving payments under the scheme, and providing recommendations and advice to the Minister about the operation of the scheme and the Act. Lending Rights is a very important part of building our cultural heritage and supporting the enrichment of Australian culture by encouraging the growth and development of Australian writing and publishing.

So my musings were that we are fortunate to have organisations such as this to encourage our cultural life and that the Victorian Opera is really hitting the mark in building new audiences and ensuring their relevance to contemporary society.

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