Australian opera – a dying art?

Diminution, diversification, hybridity and new audiences are essential if opera is to thrive in the 21st century.

Opera Australia & Barking Gecko’s The Rabbits. Image via

In 2015, Opera Australia will stage The Rabbits, its first new Australian opera since the world premiere of Brett Dean’s Bliss in 2010. Composed by Kate Miller-Heidke, with a libretto by playwright Lally Katz, The Rabbits is a co-production with Barking Gecko Theatre Company, and has been jointly commissioned by the Perth and Melbourne festivals.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts