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Children in Opera

Posted by Team APATA | Oct 7, 2021

Published in December 2020, Children in Opera written by Australian academic Dr Andrew Sutherland provides a musicological investigation into operas that include children.

Just over 100 works have been selected here for an in-depth discussion of the composer, the children, and the productions, and around 250 relevant works from around the world are also referenced.

Since opera began, it has been inextricably linked to society, by reflecting and shaping our culture through music and narrative, and, as a result, children have been involved. Despite the contribution they played, for several centuries, their importance was overlooked.

By tracing the development of children’s participation in opera, this book uncovers the changing attitudes of composers towards them, and how this was reflected in the wider society. From the early productions of the seventeenth century, to those of the twenty-first century, the operatic children’s role has undergone a fundamental change. It almost seems that contemporary composers of operas view the inclusion of children in some way as ubiquitous.

The rise of the children’s opera chorus and the explosion of children’s-only productions attest to the changing view of the value they can bring to the art. Some of the children to have characterised these roles are discussed in this book in order to redress the disproportionate lack of acknowledgement they often received for their performances.

About the Author

Dr Andrew Sutherland began lecturing in Music at Hong Kong Baptist University in 2019. Formerly based in London, he performed throughout many of the major venues around the city.

He grew up in Western Australia Sutherland attending the University of Western Australia and Edith Cowan University, where he later taught and received his PhD from Monash University in Melbourne. He has performed with the WA Symphony Orchestra, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, The Song Company and many others.

In 1995, he formed the Giovanni Consort in Perth, which continues to employ young singers to perform high quality chamber music. Critics have praised his singing, stating, “Andrew Sutherland’s opening tenor aria was also memorable for its control and refinement and for its stylish ornamentation.” (Stewart Smith – Sunday Arts) “Tenor Andrew Sutherland, who has a flair for oratorio, did well, too, notably in Thou Shalt Break which had a commanding quality and meaningful phrase-shaping.” (Neville Cohn – The West Australian).

Sutherland is in demand as a singer and an academic, writing and reviewing for several academic journals.

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