Let’s dig into some ancient wisdom. In the 6th century BCE, the Greek philosopher Heraclitus posited that everything is in a constant state of change. It’s proved to be a remarkably durable observation, one that can be applied effortlessly to opera and dance in 2024. 

There’s a bedrock of conventional repertoire as always – the centenary of Puccini’s death has not gone unremarked – but that’s not where the interest lies. 

Dance has always been a bit more nimble on its feet than opera, if you’ll forgive me, so change tends to happen more quickly there.

Festival of Outback Opera

Opera Queensland’s Festival of Outback Opera. Image courtesy of OQ

But the atmospherics have altered in opera. There’s a sense, pretty much across the board, that the shackles of Europe are being further loosened. There are unusual venues, lots of productions sung in English and a solid tranche of works by Australian composers and librettists dealing with Australian subject matter, directed by Australians. 

More women will stand in front of opera orchestras – not that that would be hard. Opera Australia leads the charge there and also dials down the number of international guest artists....