A COVID opera: WA Opera’s ‘The Telephone’

17 December 2020

2020 was the year we all discovered Zoom. In this final podcast from the Seesaw Lounge, West Australian Opera’s Music Director Chris van Tuinen discusses how the company staged a COVID comedy about the way we attempt to connect over technology.

The winter season of the Seesaw Lounge is being released as a podcast series. In this conversation Music Director of the West Australian Opera Chris van Tuinen discusses the company’s COVID reinterpretation of Menotti’s The Telephone, released in July on YouTube.

Unusual times call for unusual opera. West Australian Opera’s new production of Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Telephone is opera as you’ve never seen it before, unfolding over Zoom.

This is the third episode of the Seesaw Lounge, recorded with Rosalind Appleby, Chris van Tuinen, and Seesaw Friends on Friday 17 July 2020.

Chris van Tuinen discusses the heart of what makes an opera. Check out WAO’s COVID interpretation of The Telephone on YouTube before you listen or wait until the podcast is over and then dive in.

“At its heart [‘The Telephone’] says to us a message which I think is particularly relevant to us now, which is: no matter how technology attempts to connect us, there’s always a cost in terms of real human connection with other people. And there are opportunities for great comedy in the way technology connects us.”

Chris van Tuinen discusses Menotti’s ‘The Telephone

WA Opera’s The Telephone was released online on 9 July 2020.

Listen to the previous conversations in the Seesaw Lounge Series, Behind the Scenes at the Ballet and Curator Lee Kinsella reveals a visual arts treasure trove.

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Pictured top: Chris van Tuinen sits at the piano in his lounge, which was the set for ‘The Telephone‘.

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Author —
Rosalind Appleby

Rosalind Appleby is an arts journalist, author and speaker. She is co-editor of Seesaw Magazine, author of Women of Note, and has written for The West Australian, The Guardian, The Australian, Limelight magazine and Opera magazine. She loves the percussion instruments which can be found in the uber cool parks.

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