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For over forty years, freelance, living-off-his wits composer George Dreyfus—he wrote the much-loved Theme from Rush—has confronted Opera Australia, the trustee of federal government opera money, about the opera it commissioned from him in 1969 but never performed. Lashing around wildly, regardless of reputations, including his own, Dreyfus entertains his readers in his inimitable humourous style with this calamitous story of Australian cultural bastadry.
This is a tale of obsession (the author’s) and betrayal (by Opera Australia). For over forty years, since the opera was commissioned in the early 1970s, Dreyfus has confronted the company over its failure to perform his opera The Gilt-Edged Kid. Commissioned as part of a well-publicised sweetener to justify the company’s receipt of significant amounts of tax-payers’ money, Dreyfus’s opera was the only one of the five operas completed that was never played. No wonder he is obsessed, feels betrayed and is still trying to do something about it.
Dreyfus is the author of three books about his life and music, and the presenter of various one-man cabaret shows around Australian and in Germany. This book is essential and instant reading for all music and opera lovers.
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George Dreyfus was born in Wuppertal, Germany, in 1928 and settled in Australia in 1939. He trained as a bassoon player at the Vienna Academy of Music. After eighteen years as an orchestral musician he became a freelance composer in 1965. His compositions include music for film and television, operas, musicals and other works for the stage, symphonies, chamber music and music especially composed for children. He has received a number of awards and prizes including the Order of Australia, the Bundesverdienstkreuz 1. Klasse and UNESCO, US State Department and Myer Foundation travel grants.