12 Apr 2023
60 Minutes
Free, bookings essential

Singing on the Silver Screen | Free Event

Movie Musicals and Changing Singing Cultures


This talk by Dr Paul Smith focuses on the changing trends of singing on film and how different social generations respond to and value singing. Developing largely with the early golden age musicals of the 1940s, singing on the silver screen was firmly located in the blockbuster category generating early modern celebrities who were known as combined actors, singers and dancers.

The latter part of the 20th century saw more discrete forms of celebrity take shape where these creative domains were treated individually and it became rarer to find stars both singing and acting.

After the turn of the millenium however, this has been challenged by a rising trend in blockbuster musicals once again. Following this trajectory charts changing attitudes with the act of singing and how and where we expect our celebrities to be seen and heard.


Dr Paul Smith – Senior Lecturer in Music – Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education; School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, University of New England

Paul is a composer and researcher based in Sydney who specialises in writing opera and music for the toy piano. He holds a Doctorate of Creative Arts from Western Sydney University and is the co-artistic director of Blush Opera. Paul has collaborated internationally and his music and operas have premiered in Singapore, the UK, Italy, the USA, and Armenia in addition to Australian festivals and concert performances. In 2021, his largest operatic work, Chop Chef, a collaboration with writer and satirist Julie Koh which explores reality TV food competitions, will be premiered in Parramatta at Riverside Theatre. In 2018, Paul was an artist in residence with the Art and Cultural Studies Laboratory in Yerevan Armenia, where he worked on three new pieces for toy piano including an experimental chamber opera which he premiered as a keynote performer at the Music as Play Festival in Italy in 2019. He has collaborated with Italian toy piano specialist Antonietta Loffredo many times and she has recorded his keyboard works with the Australian label, Wirripang, as well as performing his music in Italy. Paul was also a contributing writer to the ABC and triple j digital series, What is Music?


12 Apr 2023 11:00 am

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