Three publishers in London and New York are working day and night to supply me with audited figures of their most performed 21st century works in response to yesterday’s post. Or so they swear. I will pass the information on as soon as it hits my mailbox.
Meanwhile, I see that Brett Dean’s opera of Peter Carey’s novel Bliss is going to hit the boards next month in Sydney and Melbourne, and in Hamburg at the end of September.
Bliss the novel is an ad-man’s view of the afterlife, glimpsed during a near-fatal heart attack. How this makes an opera for the big stage is a challenge for librettist Amanda Holden and I am more than a little curious to see the results.
Brett, former viola player in the Berlin Philharmonic and an all-round good guy, is a composer of considerable subtelty. He complains that he’s already had to downscale the orchestration for the broom-cupboard pit of the Australian Opera. Will they never repair that wretched space?
The Sydney premiere will be conducted by Elgar Howarth, deputising for the late Richard Hickox who was hugely enthusiastic about the opera. The Hamburg show will be conducted by Simone Young, Hickox’s predecessor as music director in Sydney. One way and another, this could be the great all-Australian opera.