Accounts such as those reporting on Simonsen's appearances in Wagga Wagga defined rural audiences primarily by what they were not: metropolitan. Situating these accounts within the context of the Riverina's emergent theatre culture reveals the existence of a distinct tension between understanding the "'pioneer" as a rural identity responsible for geographic "taming," and the nineteenth century media narrative of the pioneer as something more: an importer of material artefacts and an agent of enculturation in rural communities.This chapter investigates the social and cultural discourses that informed journalistic commentary placing the central figure of performer as a key to defining Australian rural identity in the nineteenth century. The publicity about performance generally, and about French-born prima donna Fannie Simonsen (1835 - 1896) particularly, one o f the first female opera stars of international repute to perform in the Riverina district of New South Wales, suggests a heightening awareness of rural identity in the period. It involved, to some degree, not only the recognition of the cultural influence of performers as "pioneers" but also the construction of a loose consensus of what constituted the identity of rural pioneers. Simonsen's appearances in Wagga Wagga in 1866 occurred almost a decade after the establishment of both amateur and semi-amateur theatre in the Riverina district and elsewhere.
|Title of host publication||Where the Crows Fly Backwards|
|Subtitle of host publication||Notions of Rural Identity|
|Place of Publication||Brisbane|
|Number of pages||17|
|Publication status||Published - 2010|