Friday essay: where is the Great Australian Opera?

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In 1986, the Adelaide Festival staged an operatic adaptation of Nobel Prize-winning writer Patrick White’s 1957 novel Voss, a pivotal work in the Australian literary canon.

  • Michael Halliwell
  • The Conversation

The opera, with music by a leading figure of the classical music avant-garde, Richard Meale, and libretto by acclaimed novelist and poet, David Malouf, was conceived in the period leading up to the Bicentennial celebrations in 1988.

Fry 2bIt certainly tapped into the zeitgeist. The 1980s saw increased questioning of the notion of Australian identity as well as an emergence of a focused contestation of Australian history that later morphed into the…