Posts Tagged ‘Ben Collins’

Funny how things work out.

If Suzanne hadn’t spoken to a woman speaking Swedish to her little girl after toddler music class, I probably would never have known about the Australian mining community Tom Price and the Chinese opera written about it by the Swedish woman’s American husband. But there you are.

Ben Collins, Vanessa Mills, and Hilary Smale put together a story about the opera for ABC Australia.

“It’s a contender for the most unlikely arts even of all time,” they write, “the story of a small North West Australian iron ore mining town told in Chinese operatic style.

“It’s the attention grabbing work of an American artist called Daniel Peltz, who says he aims to provoke ruptures in the socio/cultural fabric through which new ways of being may emerge. In this case that means Chinese opera in a remote Australian mining town.

” ‘I look at Chinese opera as something that’s embedded in the landscape of China, just as iron ore is embedded in the Western Australian landscape. And I think of the gesture of the piece as a way of extracting this resource from China, digging it up and bringing it to Tom Price to tell a story of the town,’ Mr Peltz says. …

“The opera follows the story of Thomas Moore Price, who is said to have died at his desk just before the deal was completed that led to the mine which the town serves.

” ‘I did find an out-of-print book on Tom Price that was produced by Kaiser Steel which confirmed that component of the narrative. But my aim is not to write historically accurate narrative, it’s actually quite the opposite… I’m really looking at extracting elements of the story of this place and sending them to China to be transformed into this opera,’ Mr Peltz says.

“In the opera, Thomas Moore Price’s only daughter, Shirley, has an encounter with the ghost of her father at the summit of Mt Nameless. A 30 minute film of the opera being performed in China will be presented at the Tom Price Community Centre.

” ‘I’ve done a lot of work to make sure that it’s well subtitled so that people can access the narrative,’ says Mr Peltz.”

Wish I had known all this when Dan and his wife (the artist Sissi Westerberg) brought their daughter to my grandson’s two-year-old birthday party a few weeks ago.

The missed opportunities of life!

Read more here and listen to a clip of the traditional-style Chinese opera.

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