West Australian Opera perform short work ‘The Telephone’

The West Australian Opera have been keeping opera lovers entertained each week with their Ghost Light Opera series, but this week they’ve taken things up a notch with a whole work being presented.

The Telephone by Gian Carlo Menotti is a short one act work, performed by Chelsea Burns, Lachlann Lawton and Bernadette Lewis.

Menotti was born in Italy in 1911 and began his musical training there, his mother later sent him to America where he enrolled in the Philadelphia Curtis Institute of Music. Among his fellow students were Leonard Bernstein and Samuel Barber.

Menotti and Barber became a couple and often worked together. After they graduated they bought a house together in My Kisco, New York. They named their house Capricorn, and it was their artistic retreat for over 40 years. Barber is best known for his 1936 work Adagio for Strings, as well as many operas and classical music pieces. He passed away in 1981.

In 1958 Menotti established a festival in Spoleto, Italy that aimed to bring opera to the masses, a sister festival was created in the USA in 1974. Menotti came to Australia in 1986 where he set up the Melbourne Spoleto Festival. He withdrew after three years and retained the naming rights, the festival is now the Melbourne International Arts Festival.

In 1974 Menotti adopted 36 year old figure skater Francis ‘Chip’ Phelan as his son, he had known Phelan since the 1960’s. Phelan took on Menotti’s name.

The Telephone was first performed in 1947 in a double bill with another of Menotti’s works. Menotti passed away in 2007 aged 95.

Take a look at his short work The Telephone.

Watch the behind the scenes video about the making of The Telephone.


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