I am upset.

I believe nothing of consequence will come, (in my opinion), from a miscalculated, and, an unproven “hunch/guess”, that a new opera, Hadrian, (not the first new opera on this topic), to be composed by Rufus Wainwright will attract young “pop music” audiences to what I think will be an expensive “pop-opera” experiment on a “spectacle” scale.

I, as a Canadian, consider Alexander Neef’s statements quoted in an interview with the Globe and Mail newspaper, to be, minimally, ignorant of Canadian nationalism and culture, annoying and offending.

Below are my comment(s):

As a Canadian who supports Canadian nationalism in all our arts, I am bewildered at the ridiculous comments stated by Alexander Neef, General Director of the Canadian Opera Company, as reported in an interview with the Globe and Mail newspaper, http://bit.ly/1b4gDAJ.

Let’s start here: (attributed to Neef in the Globe and Mail interview)

“I’ve always deplored the useless and misguided kind of musical nationalism…..”

Does Neef, a guest working in Canada, also deplore the musical nationalism of Canadian composers, performers and appreciating audiences?

Perhaps he might look to his homeland for “musical nationalism” and one composer, Richard Wagner, being celebrated this year. Does he also deplore opera composer Richard Wagner and his “musical nationalism”? And, if so, why?

Next: (attributed to Neef in the Globe and Mail interview)

“In the end, it’s about creating good work”….

I think Neef is stating the obvious; why would any artist set about creating “bad work”?

Next: (attributed to Neef in the Globe and Mail interview)

“We should definitely be a window for all great Canadian operatic artists. But it’s a lot harder to create a new piece than to hire a fine Canadian singer or director or stage designer.”

Is this really the public persona the “guardians” of the Canadian Opera Company, the Board of Directors, wish projected? I should hope not!

And finally:

How about a little more transparency in choosing the first Canadian Opera commission in so many years?

Let’s hear from Canadian “opera” composers; potential partners to offset a $1MCND expense for the commission, plus another $1MCND expense in production values, (according to Neef); and finally let’s ask the Canadian Opera going public for their input.


Susan Weiss

PS: The “official” announcement re this new Canadian “opera” commission was programmed for Monday December 2, 2013; I’d like to know why this information was made public before the “official” announcement? Disconcerting to say the least.