The West Australian reported today that WA Opera’s production of Bizet’s Opera Carmen will be dropped from the 2015 season lineup due to concerns that the production does not align with sponsor Healthway’s stance on smoking.
Healthway, a State Government health promotion agency, is said to have signed a two year $400,000 sponsorship deal with the opera company.
Writer Ben Neutze from Crikey’s Daily Review penned a piece today about the decision, musing that ” allowing a sponsor’s interests, as noble as they might be, to dictate artistic content sets a rather dangerous precedent.”
It might all seem rather trivial – Carmen gets more than enough stage time all around the world — but allowing a sponsor’s interests, as noble as they might be, to dictate artistic content sets a rather dangerous precedent. Banning a masterwork because it features characters adhering to the norms of their time is patently absurd. What’s next? No “drinking song” in La Traviata because it promotes alcohol abuse? No Romeo and Juliet because it promotes teen suicide? Where would opera be without mental health issues and suicidal tendencies?
Ben Neutze, The Daily Review
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