This week Arts Centre Melbourne and Opera Australia announced a new acquisition agreement that will see the Opera Australia Archive become part of the Performing Arts Collection.
Arts Centre Melbourne and Opera Australia’s agreement will ensure the preservation of Opera Australia’s substantial archive of production, performance and company material – including costumes from the Dame Joan Sutherland Archive – through a new ongoing donation agreement with Arts Centre Melbourne’s Performing Arts Collection. The new agreement will ensure that the history, repertoire and stage magic of Australia’s pre-eminent opera company will be preserved in perpetuity.
To celebrate the new agreement, five significant items from the initial acquisition – including two Joan Sutherland costumes – have been selected to be displayed in the Smorgon Family Plaza until 28 July.
Chosen to indicate the extraordinary depth and personality of Opera Australia’s repertoire, the display includes:
- The iconic L’amour sign created by Academy Award-winning designer Catherine Martin for Baz Luhrmann’s staging of La Boheme (1990)
- Elettra costume, worn by Dame Joan Sutherland for the 1979 staging of Idomeneo, designed by Oscar winner John Truscott
- Anna Glawari costume, worn by Dame Joan Sutherland for the 1978 production of The Merry Widow, designed by Kristian Fredrikson
- Countess Almaviva costume created by worn by Joan Carden for the 2001 staging of The Marriage of Figaro created by British designer Michael Stennett
- Two props designed by Dan Potra for the 2001 Opera Australia commissioned production of Batavia
- An additional costume from the 1995 production of Nabucco, currently on loan to RMIT Gallery, will join the collection in June.
At the launch of this new display on Monday, Victorian Minister for the Arts Heidi Victoria MP said, “This new partnership adds another dimension to Arts Centre Melbourne’s impressive Performing Arts Collection, Australia’s largest and most significant collection of performing arts history and a treasure of our state. It will bring with it memories of many years of great performances and productions for all to enjoy. Opera Australia couldn’t have chosen a better place to house part of its history, and I thank them for sharing and entrusting these treasures with the people of Victoria and Australia.”
Arts Centre Melbourne Chief Executive Judith Isherwood said, “Our new acquisition partnership with Opera Australia is an important milestone and really cements the national significance of our Performing Arts Collection as Australia’s largest collection of performing arts history and traditions. While we already have 200 items in the Performing Arts Collection archives are associated with past Opera Australia performances, these have come from individual donations and other collections. Through our new agreement, the Performing Arts Collection will be directly connected to the archives of one of Australia’s most important performing arts companies and we will be able to better document and preserve the history of opera performance in this country.”
Opera Australia’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini said, “Opera Australia is not just about singers, we are also about creative artists working in design fields including costumes, sets and props. These artists produce a staggering amount of carefully crafted materials that have to be both spectacular and durable – they get quite a beating over the course of a production run! We are very happy to be sharing some of these with Arts Centre Melbourne, and are appreciative of their care and curatorial expertise. We hope that audience members coming to see some of the operas we have at Arts Centre Melbourne this season, will enjoy the opportunity for a sneak peak at the pieces on display, ahead of the performances.”
Arts Centre Melbourne presents: Opera Australia Archive Acquisition Display Arts Centre Melbourne, Smorgon Family Plaza 15 APRIL – 28 JULY, 2013 FREE