Thursday, October 09, 2014

Carmen, cant and the State Opera of Western Australia

A short post tonight. I found this a quite remarkable story. I quote:

A planned production of Bizet’s Carmen at the State Opera of West Australia has been pulled by the management because it conflicts with a two-year $400,000 partnership withCarmen the State Government health promotion agency, Healthway. Carmen is set around a cigarette factory.

Carolyn Chard, West Australian Opera general manager said the decision was “not difficult”.

She added: ‘“We care about the health and wellbeing of our staff, stage performers and all the opera lovers throughout WA, which means promoting health messages and not portraying any activities that could be seen to promote unhealthy behaviour.”

Well, dear me. Assuming the reporting is correct, where do we go from here? The word bowdlerise named  after Thomas Bowdler was coined to describe this attitude. To stay within recent themes, it’s really very public service speak. Ms Chard must fit in well in that modern Government environment where cant substitutes for thought.


This is some of the other media coverage on this matter:

The story has gone global. As one example, this is from Bloomberg -  Australian opera company bans 'Carmen' for smoking


Anonymous said...

Well done, Australia! Another world first in public health zealotry! Makes me feel very proud. Another good project would be to ban all Humphrey Bogart films.


Winton Bates said...

And the decision was "not difficult"!

My Observations said...

I worry now about most of classics. There have been so many unhealthy ideas in opera, literature and art in general! I really hope, Jim, that the information is not correct.

Evan said...

Only self-improving and art on worthy subjects shall be approved.

Some subjects that should not be treated by this criterion:
War (sorry Mr Tolstoy)
Regicide (Hamlet is out)
Domestic Violence

It is hard to find the words to describe this kind of idiocy.

Jim Belshaw said...

Later I will put up some more links on this one. As DG says, it is an example of public health zealotry that has left the Opera wrapped in smoke!

John Stitch said...

So now its art according to what Ms Chard sees as appropriate? Let's hope she doesn't get to wield the censor's scissors on a national scale. The "I know what's best for you" mentality seems to be thriving in the arts as we lurch further to the right in this country. Just ask Paul Yore or Bill Henson.

Anonymous said...

"...lurch further to the right". Hardly. The public health hierarchy is a creature of the left. The government knows what's best for you.


Jim Belshaw said...

Government knowing what's best for you seems to me to be a creature of left and right, DG.

Anonymous said...

I look forward to meeting members of the conservative faction within the public health cabal.


Jim Belshaw said...

Point taken, DG, although I think my comment is generally still collect. The "I know best" syndrome is deeply entrenched.