OSCAR AND LUCINDA , the latest production by Sydney Chamber Opera is co- produced and commissioned by Opera Queensland and Victorian Opera. Based on the book by Peter Carey with music by Elliott Gyger and libretto by Pierce Wilcox it is a strong , striking production with wonderful performances.
The book subverts and questions Australian colonialism and society using misfits Oscar and Lucinda as a prism for analysis. We follow the two main characters growing up – while Lucinda’s in Australia, on purloined land, Oscar’s is in England where a dominating, complicated relationship with his father and a troubled calling to be a minister mean Oscar becomes a restless, rather tormented adult. They first meet at the end of Act 1 in a terrific climax. We see how the two of them are brought together by their compulsive gambling that ultimately leads to their destruction.
Gyger’s. intricate, challenging score as played by the dynamic orchestra conducted by Jack Symonds is complicated and while not quite atonal is quite definitely modernist – mostly sharp and spiky but with some quieter lyrical passages and some fractured, recurring motifs. Continue reading OSCAR AND LUCINDA @ CARRIAGEWORKS→
This is the latest joyous, astonishing collaboration, their third, between the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Circa that had the audience in raptures. Don’t miss it. The audience did not want to breathe or blink in case they missed something.
It is an inspired pastiche by Paul Dyer and Yaron Lifschitz, with music from 16th and 17th-century England and featuring the beautiful voices of sopranos Jane Sheldon and Lauren Stephenson.
The set design by Yaron Lifschitz, Libby McDonnell and Richard Clarke is inspired by the idea of a clipped formal garden at a stately 17th-century mansion : a green covered area represents the manicured lawn .The middle area has tumbling mats , there is a large blank screen at the back used for projections and a huge hoop. Various sized white plinths (which also become props) are included and the Circa cast are carried on as statues hidden under drapes. Peter Rubie’s lighting design is dramatic and atmospheric.
The 2019 Sydney Festival has started with a bang and one of the major events is the Australian premiere of La Passion de Simone . Written by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, with a libretto in French by Amin Maaloufit it is presented at Carriageworks by Sydney Chamber Opera in association with The Song Company.
Musically and visually superb, it is a powerful and hypnotic production.Directed by Imara Savage it looks at the life of Simone Weil , who was an intellectual, Marxist and pacifist, philosopher, political activist and mystic whose despair at the course of world events led her to starve herself and pass away in 1943 aged just 34. Weil died of tuberculosis after weakening herself by fasting in sympathy with the starving people of France, having spent the preceding decade travelling through Nazi Germany and revolutionary Spain in an attempt to understand the causes and nature of oppressive régimes.
After involvement in the Spanish Civil War, Weil, a secular Jew, converted to Christianity, fleeing France with her family during World War II and working with the French Resistance from London.
The show is based in the Passion Play tradition with episodes of Weil’s life linked to the Stations of the Cross. One scene includes how she worked for a while in a factory among the oppressed workers then rejected the robotic, virtually forced labour. Continue reading LA PASSION DE SIMONE @ CARRIAGEWORKS→
American, Indonesian, Swedish-Ethiopian and Australian artists will present work that illuminates the shape-shifting power of the human voice in RESONANT BODIES presented by the Sydney Chamber Opera and Carriageworks, in association with Resonant Bodies (USA). This is the first Sydney iteration of RESONANT BODIES, an international festival of new vocal music founded in New York in 2013 by American singer Lucy Dhegrae.
This exclusive Australian event presents six dynamic vocalists across two nights on 31 August and 1 September. Swedish- Ethiopian composer-improviser Sofia Jernberg, Indonesian vocalist Rully Shabara, New York soprano Ariadne Greif, and Australian vocalists Mitchell Riley, Deborah Kayser and Sonya Holowell are invited to curate and perform in their own 45-minute sets, with no restrictions on repertoire, format, or style. Continue reading SYDNEY PREMIERE OF RESONANT BODIES, AN INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL OF NEW VOCAL MUSIC→
A fairy-tale beginning inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale, WILD SWANS IN CONCERT this Saturday will star Elena Kats-Chernin, Tamara-Anna Cislowska and Jane Sheldon.
The breathtaking music of WILD SWANS IN CONCERT is inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans. A young girl Eliza is driven from her home by her wicked stepmother who turns her eleven brothers into wild swans. To break the spell, Eliza must knit eleven coats out of stinging nettles, find the swans and dress them in their jackets – all while keeping silent.
Elena Kats- Chernin found her voice in music at a young age and has been captivating audiences for decades. Even if you don’t know her name, you’re bound to have heard her music, whether on the radio, online, at the Olympics or in the Sydney Opera House. Recently celebrating her 60th birthday, both stage and auditorium were packed for this much loved performer’s birthday concert. So if you weren’t at the birthday party now is your chance to hear her work.
On Saturday, The Joan proudly presents Kats-Chernin’s breath-taking piano and vocal score in concert format, with two of Australia’s most outstanding pianists – Tamara-Anna Cislowska and Elena Kats-Chernin – playing live on stage, joined by New York based Australian soprano Jane Sheldon, who is described by the Sydney Morning Herald as ‘superb, with a voice of penetrating beauty, precision and variegated colours’.
Elena Kats-Chernin’s haunting and evocative music to Meryl Tankard’s ballet Wild Swans captivated audiences around Australia when it was first performed by The Australian Ballet and broadcast on ABC TV.
This incredible piano score will be played by four hands on one piano with Sheldon’s spectacular soprano voice rising above the music, and will be accompanied by photographic images created and curated by the extraordinary photographer and visual designer Regis Lansac.
Elena Kats-Chernin is one of the most cosmopolitan composers working today and her love of extreme and dramatically vivid music – from joy to thunder; whimsy to roar – takes audiences on a journey of exquisite beauty in Wild Swans.
WILD SWANS IN CONCERT, Saturday 11 November 7.30pm, is a must for all lovers of fine music – finishing The Joan’s 2017 Fine Music series on a high note, in the hands of a musical dream team.
Tickets (Adult $65 Concession $60) available at the Box Office 47237600 or online
Adelaide’s award winning bold and adventurous string quartet, Zephyr Quartet and New York-based Sydney-born soprano Jane Sheldon have been working on a new program entitled Musica Anonymous which will be presented tomorrow night at the Utzon Room in the Sydney Opera House. The program is their tribute to unknown composers of traditional music. It sounds like a fascinating area to explore, which they do in depth.
How does one define traditional/folk music? One meaning often given is that of old songs, with no known composers; another is music that has been transmitted and evolved by a process of oral transmission or performed by custom over a long period of time.