Carmen on Sydney Harbour creatives release damning statement ahead of opening night

Yesterday afternoon lauded creatives (between them they’ve won Helpmanns, an Emmy, and a Tony) Brian Thomson AM, Julie Lynch, and Gale Edwards released a statement regarding Opera Australia’s revival of Carmen on Sydney Harbour.

The ensemble of Carmen
The ensemble of Carmen. Photo by James Morgan

Following an exposé in Daily Review revealing, among other situations of discord within the company, that Opera Australia did not invite the team to re-mount the production, the trio have spoken out a joint statement issued to the media. The full text of that statement is below:

“In 2013, between the three of us, we conceived, directed and designed Opera Australia’s Handa Opera production of CARMEN on Sydney Harbour.

This Friday March 24, Opera Australia will present this production again. As the key Creative Team we feel it is important that the press and public understand that neither the director (Gale Edwards), set designer ( Brian Thomson) nor costume designer (Julie Lynch) have been invited back to oversee the re-mount.

It is beyond our comprehension how any professional company or artistic director would exclude the core creatives in such an important revival, especially when we have made multiple overtures to the Company offering our services to remount this much-acclaimed interpretation of CARMEN.

Therefore, we advise that we cannot guarantee the work’s integrity, or that the public will see the production as it was originally intended to be.

Brian Thomson AM, Julie Lynch and Gale Edwards”

Carmen Set. Image courtesy of Opera Australia
Carmen Set. Image courtesy of Opera Australia

Opera Australia responded with a statement of their own:

“Opera Australia, like many other major international opera companies, stages revival productions every year. It is common practice around the globe that directors are very rarely engaged to remount their original productions, and even more rare for set or costume designers.

In keeping with this practice, Opera Australia employs a wealth of talented directors and craftspeople who painstakingly and lovingly present these productions as true to their original format as possible.

Opera Australia’s current Sydney Summer Season included all revivals, La Bohème (Gale Edwards), La Traviata (Elijah Moshinsky), King Roger (Kasper Holten), Tosca (John Bell) and Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci (Damiano Michieletto). All revivals, and all presented by revival directors to great acclaim and accolades, and one of our most successful seasons to date.”

Carmen on Sydney Harbour is set to open tomorrow, Friday 24 March 2017.

Cassie Tongue

Cassie is a theatre critic and arts writer in Sydney, and was the deputy editor of AussieTheatre. She has written for The Guardian, Time Out Sydney, Daily Review, and BroadwayWorld Australia. She is a voter for the Sydney Theatre Awards.

Cassie Tongue

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