Opera Australia: hating haters?Op-ed
Well, it's been a weird week for critics. After opera critic Paolo Isotta, of the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, got himself blacklisted from receiving free media tickets from La Scala, new management has lifted his ban. Although Corriere has since decided to refuse free ticket offers from La Scala in the future, Artistic and music directors Alexander Pereira and Riccardo Chailly have said that they won't ban any critics from requesting media seats (including Paolo Isotta). How progressive.
Across the globe, Opera Australia has taken the opposite approach. OA's artistic director Lyndon Terracini removed the names of two critics from his media list, informing them that they were removed specifically because of things they wrote. Diana Simmonds, of StageNoise, received an email from Opera Australia's media people that stated, "In response to some of your recent writing about the company, Lyndon asked that you be removed from the media list." Jeez. Over at Daily Review, critic Harriett Cunningham got a similar message (as quoted by Diana Simmonds): "Hi Harriett - Lyndon is very offended following your article earlier this week - I'm sure this comes as no great surprise. So no, I'm afraid we're not able to offer you any further comp tickets."
So, what did they write? Nothing, considering that old, pardoned Paolo Isotta wrote that British conductor Daniel Harding's work with Tristan und Isolde "was so soft it made you think he wanted to back the unfounded theory that Wagner was homosexual." Honestly, Harriett had some harsh words to say about Opera Australia's conservative season programming in her piece, "Why I'm Not Going to the Opera Next Year", and Diana wrote strongly about Lyndon Terracini's professional and artistic methods in her "Lunatics Not Taking Over Asylum - Official".
Even if these banned critics were objectively wrong about what they wrote, why don't important people like Lyndon Terracini know that censorship will just start another show? I only read the "offensive" pieces because I heard about the ban (thanks, Greg Finney!), and now I know that Terracini is tender. Is it just me, or is it really weird that the Italians are opening their doors to haters, and the Australians are shutting them, medieval-style? It must be the full moon. Or people who don't realize that putting caution tape around a problem just makes more people look at the problem.
Write, on, ladies! Write on.