Categories
Past Productions

INSONG

IN SONG

Presented by Phoenix Central Park

Watch performances of selected song cycles from IN SONG. 

Text by Charles van Lerberghe

Jane Sheldon, soprano
Jack Symonds, piano

Eve awakens in Eden, embarking on a day of sublime discovery. Fauré’s music itself is revealed like a garden coming into being, unfolding from incredibly simple elements, single pitches emerging one by one, until we are suddenly aware that we are deep in rich harmony, the garden in full bloom. Eve’s body is foregrounded all the while, arriving at an ecstatic, sublime conflation of her self with the garden.

Completed in 1910, this song cycle represents Fauré’s extraordinary late style: a miraculous, radiant reimagining of harmony beneath an unbroken surface of subtlety and refinement.

Text by Louis Garrick
World premiere

Emily Edmonds, mezzo soprano
Jack Symonds, piano

An adaptation of lines from The Epic of Gilgamesh, the oracle Utanapishti tells Gilgamesh of the great flood, a cataclysm engulfing the whole world – how they survived, and what the world looked like in the aftermath. Three linked songs chart this fragment of a foundational myth, heard here in their world premiere.

Text by Stefan George 
 
Anna Fraser, soprano
Jack Symonds, piano
 

This revolutionary song cycle completed in 1909 teeters on the brink between Romanticism and Expressionism, all of its suppurating tonal wounds exposed. Schoenberg’s protagonist stumbles through a garden in decay, lovesick and reeling. The songs travel through vague anticipation (1, 2) and longing (3 – 5) to obsession (6 – 8), frustration (9), reverie (10), brief consummation (11), and finally doomed resignation (12 -15). George’s poems, with their themes of exquisite disorientation, serve to support some of the most radical musical gestures Schoenberg had yet made.

What is foregrounded for the most part is not the personage of the beloved, not their features or their actions; rather, what is rendered in extremely fine detail is the slowly rotting garden and its contents. Through the metaphor of the garden, what is most salient to us is the way that heartbreak tastes, smells, and feels, the oppressive dis-ease of it.

Text by Jules Renard

Simon Lobelson, baritone
Jack Symonds, piano

Completed in 1906, this song cycle sees the traits of four birds and a little cricket lightly satirised and anthropomorphised to form a surprisingly profound portrait of inter-species folly. Ravel’s piano and vocal writing here exhibits an inhibition and release from tradition which breathes the fresh air of fin-de-siècle French music, effortlessly pointing forward to the refined waterfalls of sound he was about to unleash in the first few decades of the century.

Text by Andreas Gryphius

Simon Lobelson, baritone
Jack Symonds, piano

Wolfgang Rihm is one of the leading living German composers and his vast, hugely varied output includes many song cycles. Vermischter Traum dates from 2017 and is a dark, anguished setting of Baroque poet Andreas Gryphius’s meditations on time and death. Uniquely, Rihm chooses a form that sets and re-sets the same text, as if the singer were turning over these weighty thoughts in his mind and coming to different conclusions. In an arch structure of seven songs, the 2nd, 4th and 6th all wonder about time, the 1st and 7th literally ask the question – ‘what is life?’ while the 3rd and 5th are extended death-bed meditations on the failing body. 

The musical language is a natural extension of the Lieder tradition. The harmony is thick with allusion and the weight of 200 years of German song, while the vocal line is cognisant of the history of Romanticism and Expressionism. Rihm has created a major addition to the art song repertoire in every respect.

Text by Bertha Galeron de Calonne

Anna Fraser, soprano
Jack Symonds, piano

This perfectly-formed song was composed in 1916 towards the end of Boulanger’s tragically short life. An extraordinary composer, she managed in her 24 years to create a unique body of work that combines the various threads in French music at the time and synthesise them in an uncommon originality. Direct, radiant and, at times cataclysmic, this song represents her art at its finest.

Text by Amin Maalouf

Emily Edmonds, mezzo soprano
Jack Symonds, piano

These ‘four moments’ are passionate snapshots in a torrid romantic relationship: longing, desire, pain, consummation. The fourth song is an extended reminiscence which astonishingly mingles all of these states of mind, as if from a great distance in time.

This ocean of sound for just two performers is energised by torrential, glittering piano writing making the instrument into a huge resonating chamber to contain dramatic vocal lines of pulverising eroticism. A tour de force by one of the world’s great living composers, Saariaho has created a post-Spectral masterpiece vast in expression and imagination.

Text by Emily Dickinson

Anna Fraser, soprano
Jack Symonds, piano

This extreme and disturbing setting of Emily Dickinson’s classic poem “I felt a funeral in my brain” feels like a miniature song cycle, vacillating as it does between mechanistic, brutal and harsh streams of text and warm cushions of velvety tonality.

The composer writes: “Composing is a vocation that requires one to spend much of their lives in their own head, which is perhaps why I am often drawn to texts that explore the inner workings of the mind. I was immediately struck by this remarkable poem which, for me, lucidly captures the experience of observing one’s own loss of touch with reality. In my interpretation of the text, I have sought to project the constant fluctuation between denial, numbness, panic and hopeless nostalgia for better times.”

Text by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Jane Sheldon, soprano
Jack Symonds, piano

Dusapin is one of the major living figures in European music and his vocal and operatic work is rightly celebrated for its detailed, expressive and original lines which seem to interpret the text as an object in a permanent state of change.

This song cycle from 2014 takes Goethe’s gnomic poems about clouds and finds a modally refined musical language alternately weightless and unbearably heavy; an onomatopoeia at right angles to the text-object. The four cloud types are duly rendered before a fifth, mysterious song steals in at the end to lead us into another world altogether… 

Text: anonymous, adapted by
W.H. Auden

Emily Edmonds, mezzo soprano
Jack Symonds, piano

This much-loved song cycle from 1953 is one of the high points of American vocal writing and a testament to Barber’s belief in the continuation of the song tradition of the 19th century into the 20th.

With surprising rhythmic freedom, Barber finds a cosmic pleasure in the simple acts of praise, worship and solitude from which we could all learn. These anonymous texts from mediaeval monasteries are captured by Barber with alternately devotional wonder and sparkling joy.

Simon Lobelson, baritone
Jack Symonds, piano

Benjamin Britten’s ‘ownership’ of the English language song cycle in the 20th century finds its most ambitious realisation in this dark, late work from 1965, shot through with the agony of existence.

Written for Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, this stern yet remarkably well-contrasted piece attempts to embrace William Blake’s eccentric world vision with chiselled precision, economy and that classic Britten style of text setting where one simply can’t imagine the words being sung any other way.

Performed without a break, the reflections between the aphoristic Proverbs and extended Songs are bound together by a tightly unified web of musical ideas, drawing us into a world where the line between Heaven and Hell is marked by the smallest of steps.

Presented in a re-purposed Gothic church in Alexandria, this recital-installation is a series of four artsong programs tracing a journey from the dawn of musical expressionism to a diverse clutch of Australian and world premieres, illustrating where the form has found itself in the 21st century.

SCO’s adventurous and virtuosic singers Emily Edmonds, Anna Fraser, Simon Lobelson and Jane Sheldon will find common threads between composers, eras, styles and continents to craft a rare and comprehensive overview of the scintillating art of modern song.

Inside an evocative installation by artist Elizabeth Gadsby, these singers will illuminate a body of work indispensable to the artistic story of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Think artsong begins and ends at Schubert? Let IN SONG show you its recent past, present and future.

Program One
Jane Sheldon, soprano
Jack Symonds, piano

Pascal Dusapin Wolken (AP)
Mary Finsterer Nearing Circumpolar (WP)
György Kurtág Three Old Inscriptions (AP)
Gabriel Fauré La chanson d’Ève

Program Two
Anna Fraser, soprano
Jack Symonds, piano

György Kurtág Requiem for a friend (AP)
Lili Boulanger Dans l’immense tristesse
Luigi Dallapiccola Four poems of Antonio Machado (AP)
David Evans In my brain (WP)
Arnold Schoenberg The Book of the Hanging Gardens

Program Three
Emily Edmonds, mezzo soprano
Jack Symonds, piano

Francis Poulenc Banalités
Jack Symonds Nothing other than silence (WP)
Samuel Barber Hermit Songs
Kaija Saariaho Quatre instants (AP)

Program Four
Simon Lobelson, baritone
Jack Symonds, piano

Wolfgang Rihm Vermischter Traum (AP)
Maurice Ravel Histoires naturelles
Benjamin Britten Songs and Proverbs of William Blake

Installation Artist
Elizabeth Gadsby

WP= world premiere
AP= Australian premiere

Gallery

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‘The Church’
9 Mitchell Rd. Alexandria

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We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

Categories
Past Productions

poem for a dried up river

poem for a
dried up river

Australian Premiere

Music by Jane Sheldon
Poem by Alice Oswald

Presented by Sydney Festival

View the program here

Struggle, exertion – where does it first show up in the body? In the breath. And that’s how Jane Sheldon’s poem for a dried up river begins: in summer darkness with the sounds of breathing floating over chirping cicadas. Gradually two sopranos emerge from the soundscape, their labour divided – instrument and words.

This riveting performance melds opera, poetry, physical theatre and art installation in a mesmerising, unique combination. Alice Oswald’s text about a figurine of a naiad trying to coax water from a bed of limestone ‘unfolds like a cry of environmental despair’. Sheldon’s exquisite palette of musical colours plays on contrasts: dry and wet, weak and strong, barren and fecund. Elizabeth Gadsby’s powerful installation mirrors the nymph’s exertions with the unrolling of a 200kg path of clay.

Jane Sheldon reunites with Sydney Chamber Opera for another collaboration filled with detail and nuance, and a profound sense of connection.

Installation & Design
Elizabeth Gadsby

Music Direction 
Jack Symonds 

Lighting Design
Alexander Berlage

Sound Design
Benjamin Carey

Choreography
Danielle Micich

Singers
Jane Sheldon
Anna Fraser

Instruments
Veronique Serret
James Wannan
Jack Ward
Matthew Harrison
Claire Edwardes
Bree van Reyk

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body and the NSW Government through Create NSW.

Gallery

VENUE

Carriageworks
Bay 20, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh

duration

35 minutes

Press Reviews

Limelight
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"Jane Sheldon gives a gripping performance in a work that resonates powerfully with the climate crisis."
The Sydney Morning Herald
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“The work explored elemental metaphors – life from clay, water and the feminine, the earth and the spirit, darkness and light.”
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General Information

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

Categories
Past Productions

Future Remains

FUTURE REMAINS

A Double Bill of: 

Diary of One Who Disappeared
by Leoš Janáček

Fumeblind Oracle
by Huw Belling &
Pierce Wilcox

World Premiere
View the program here

Written in the aftermath of World War I, Czech composer Leoš Janáček’s Diary of One Who Disappeared is a lacerating song cycle of delusion and illicit desire centred on a man who would abandon everything for forbidden love. Troubling and sensual, it has never been staged in Australia – until now.

And there’s more. In response to Janáček’s masterpiece, SCO’s Huw Belling (Victory Over the Sun) spins out the tale, taking it new and dangerous depths in the world premiere of Fumeblind Oracle, a partner piece in which the lone woman moves from love poetry to god-guided violence.

Inspired by Sappho and Homer’s Iliad, a new libretto by Pierce Wilcox (Oscar & Lucinda) breaks expectation to pieces and builds a real, breathing person from the shards while director Alexander Berlage, acclaimed for American Psycho and Cry-Baby applies his electric visual style to this remarkable diptych. 

Director
& Lighting Design
Alexander Berlage

Set & Costume Design
Jeremy Allen

Sound Design
Benjamin Carey

Dramaturg
Bernadette Fam

Singers
Andrew Goodwin
Jessica O’Donoghue

Piano
Jack Symonds

Actors
Amy Hack
Chemon Theys

This production is proudly supported by Kim Williams AM
and was developed as part of Carriageworks 2020
In Development Program.

The staging of Diary of One Who Disappeared was commissioned by Sydney Opera House, enabled by Prof Ross Steele AM.

Piano sponsored by Kawai Pianos, Australia.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body and the NSW Government through Create NSW.

Gallery

VENUE

Carriageworks
Bay 20, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh

duration

70 minutes

Press Reviews

Limelight
Read More
"Janáček’s The Diary of One Who Disappeared is given an exquisite staging before a bold new work tears it to shreds in this intelligent and entertaining double bill from Sydney Chamber Opera."
The Sydney Morning Herald
Read More
"'Thought provoking and excellent': Future Remains is a rich musical work."
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General Information

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

Categories
Past Productions

Breaking Glass

Breaking Glass

World Premiere Co-presented with Carriageworks

Quadruple bill of

Her Dark Marauder by Georgia Scott
Commute by Peggy Polias
The Tent by Josephine Macken
The Invisible Bird by Bree van Reyk

Read the Directors’ & Composers’ notes here

Four women weave new worlds from music.

Women have always starred in opera, but with the contours of their lives scored by men. In Breaking Glass, the brilliant composers Peggy Polias, Josephine Macken, Georgia Scott and Bree van Reyk, seize the stage and share the stories they have always wanted to tell.

In partnership with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s Composing Women Program, SCO presents a quadruple bill of their new one-act operas.

Commute transforms the saga of Odysseus into the prickling unease of a modern woman’s walk home at night. The Tent creates a landscape of pulsating terror from Margaret Atwood’s knife-sharp prose and the tiniest fragments of wounded sound. In Her Dark Marauder, Sylvia Plath’s poetry inspires a woman’s battle for her identity in a spirit-crushing world. The Invisible Bird takes the true story of a rare breed of Australian parrot struggling for survival and renders it a dazzling journey to emancipation.

These world premieres are directed by Clemence Williams and Artistic Associate Danielle Maas, two women determined to smash open an expanse of possibility for operatic storytelling.

Breaking Glass is a new future for opera.

Photography by Daniel Boud

Conductor
Jack Symonds

Directors
Danielle Maas
Clemence Williams

Set & Costume Design
Charles Davis

Lighting Design
Alexander Berlage

AV Design
David Bergman

Sound Design
Ben Carey

Writer & Dramaturg
Pierce Wilcox

Assistant Conductor
Huw Belling

Production Manager
Jason Thelwell

Stage Management
Ellen Castles
Ayah Tayeh

Singers
Jessica O’Donoghue 
Jane Sheldon
Mitchell Riley
Simon Lobelson

Instruments
James Wannan
Ben Ward
Lamorna Nightingale
Jason Noble
Alison Pratt

‘The Tent’ is proudly supported by & dedicated to
Penelope Seidler AM

‘Commute’ is proudly supported by & dedicated to
Prof Di Yerbury AO

Producers
Anonymous (1)
John Barrer
Neil Burns
Martin Dickson AM & Susie Dickson
The Johnson Family Foundation through the Myer Foundation
The Russel Mills Foundation
The Sydney Community Foundation’s Women Composers Fund and its associated donors

Associate Producers
Jim Alexander & Kathir Ponnusamy
Andrew Andersons AO
Gil Appleton
John Kaldor
James Williams

stream now

Gallery

VENUE

Carriageworks
Bay 20, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh

duration

1 hour 20 minutes

Press Reviews

Limelight
Read More
"..This is a major achievement and another feather in the cap of Australia’s most inspirational modern opera company."
ArtsHub
Read More
“Sydney Chamber Opera creates a riveting online experience with works by four female composers.”
The Sydney Morning Herald
Read More
Though conceived as a live rather than virtual experience, the internet version retained the creative energy and originality.
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General Information

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

Categories
Past Productions

Oscar & Lucinda

OSCAR AND LUCINDA

Opera in two acts

Music by Elliott Gyger
Libretto by Pierce Wilcox
after the Novel by Peter Carey

World Premiere

A co-production and co-commission of Sydney Chamber Opera,
Opera Queensland and Victorian Opera

Peter Carey’s beloved novel is one of our nation’s artistic triumphs, winner of the Booker and Miles Franklin Awards. Elliott Gyger is the composer who gave World War I phantasmagoric life in Fly Away Peter. In May 2019, he reunites with librettist Pierce Wilcox to transform Carey’s kaleidoscopic tale into a new landmark of Australian opera, directed by internationally acclaimed Patrick Nolan.

She is an orphaned proto-feminist industrialist; he believes he is touched by God. They have nothing in common- except their maddening addiction to gambling. She calls it chance; he calls it providence. Oscar and Lucinda find each other in colonial-era Sydney, and nothing will keep them apart. Until they are torn by a wild dream: to build a cathedral of pure glass, and walk it into the Australian outback.

Oscar and Lucinda is a bonfire of the passions within every human soul. It is impossible, romantic, and visionary.

Like a church made of glass.

Conductor
Jack Symonds

Director
Patrick Nolan

Set & Costume Design
Anna Tregloan

Lighting Design
Damien Cooper

Assistant Director
Constantine Costi

Singers
Jessica Aszodi
Brenton Spiteri
Jeremy Kleeman
Simon Lobelson
Mitchell Riley

Jane Sheldon

Instruments
Peter Clark
Veronique Serret
James Wannan
Henry Justo
Judith Hamman
Paul Zabrowarny
Muhamed Mehmedbasic
Ben Opie
Jasper Ly
Jason Noble
Georgina Oakes
Gergely Malyusz
Neil O’Donnell
Ben Kopp
Emily Granger
Claire Edwardes

SCO thanks the Oscar and Lucinda Production Circle for their support of this ambitious work:

Production Partners ($15,000+)
Martin and Susie Dickson, Kim Williams AM

Principal Artist Partners ($10,000- $14,999)
Anonymous (1), Meredith Brooks, Neil Burns,
Penelope Seidler AO, Christine Williams &
The Macquarie Foundation

Artist Partners ($5,000- $9,999)
John Barrer, John Kaldor AO, Jane Mathews AO,
The Russel Mills Foundation, Prof Di Yerbery AO

Gallery

VENUE

Carriageworks
Bay 20, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh

duration

130 minutes
Including one 20 minute interval

Press Reviews

Australian Book Review
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“A triumph for Sydney Chamber Opera… a company that has redefined operatic performance in Sydney and Australia”
TimeOut
Read More
“Sydney Chamber Opera has proven itself to be an essential company in Sydney’s arts landscape in its decade of operation, and Oscar and Lucinda is another feather in its cap.”
The Guardian
Read More
“Musical vignettes that flash and bend like rainbows… setting your heart to new rhythms… a harmonic chase of caramel tones and prayer, and, thankfully, twists of wit and fun”
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General Inquiries ​

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General Information

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

Categories
Past Productions

La Passion De Simone

LA PASSION DE SIMONE

Australian premiere

Presented by Sydney Festival in association with The Song Company

Music by Kaija Saariaho
Text by Amin Maalouf

Passion and philosophy collide in a glimmering ascent to enlightenment.

Simone Weil bestrode the 20th century as a figure of impossible grace. Acclaimed Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho tells her story through music in this deeply spiritual work, never before seen in Australia.
Saariaho’s score is luminous and coruscating, blending a single incredible soloist with the voices of The Song Company and nineteen virtuoso instrumentalists.

Star soprano Jane Sheldon (The Howling Girls, An Index of Metals) leads the audience through Weil’s extraordinary life, from her rejection of labour during World War II to her exile into self-imposed starvation in protest of the Holocaust’s atrocity. Director Imara Savage and designer Elizabeth Gadsby, the creative team behind the acclaimed Fly Away Peter, return to SCO for this shimmering meditation on defiance in the face of inhumanity.

Conductor
Jack Symonds

Director
Imara Savage

Set & Costume Design
Elizabeth Gadsby

Lighting Design
Alexander Berlage

Assistant Director
Clemence Williams

Video Artist
Mike Daly

Soloist
Jane Sheldon

Vocal Ensemble
The Song Company

Instruments
Alex Norton
Veronique Serret
James Wannan
Mee Na Lojewski
Kirsty McCahon
Lamorna Nightingale
Jane Bishop
Jasper Ly
Jason Noble
Noriko Shimada
Gergely Malyusz
Neil O’Donnell
Callum G’Froerer
Matthew Harrison
Genevieve Lang
Susan Powell
Joshua Hill
Bree van Reyk
Kaylie Melville

La Passion de Simone is published by Chester Music, by kind permission of The Music Sales Group

Watch the trailer

Gallery

VENUE

Carriageworks
Bay 20, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh

duration

70 minutes

Press Reviews

The Sydney Morning Herald
Read More
“glowing pristine beauty and transcendent iridescence”
TimeOut
Read More
“Bold, uncompromising and musically spectacular… thrilling, mesmerising…extraordinarily rich and rewarding; sensual, strident and stinging.”
Realtime
Read More
“Once again I’m deeply grateful to Sydney Chamber Opera for staging a work I knew of but never expected to see and which has provoked thinking about opera and form, politics and faith”
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Keep in touch

General Inquiries ​

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General Information

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

Categories
Past Productions

Resonant Bodies Festival

RESONANT BODIES FESTIVAL

Australian Exclusive
View the program here

Illuminating the shape-shifting power of the human voice, Resonant Bodies is an international festival of new vocal music founded in New York in 2013 and described as “indispensable” and “essential” by the New York Times.

In this exclusive Australian iteration, six extraordinary singers will showcase their work over two days throughout Carriageworks. Resonant Bodies‘ singers extend to an international constellation of performers whose innovative practices represent the vanguard of the vocal arts.

For Sydney 2018, Swedish-Ethiopian composer-improviser Sofia Jernberg, Indonesian experimental vocalist Rully Shabara and luminous New York soprano Ariadne Greif join SCO favourite Mitchell Riley , new music royalty Deborah Kayser and local rising star Sonya Holowell for a unique demonstration of the breadth and range of the contemporary voice.

Voice
Rully Shabara
Sofia Jernberg
Deborah Kayser
Sonya Holowell
Mitchell Riley
Ariadne Greif

Alto Saxophone
Jim Denley

Drums
Ramberto Agozalie
Daniel Cesar

Movement
Raghav Handa
Melinda Tyquin

Piano
Jack Symonds
Jonathan Holowell

Installation
Elia Bosshard

Double Bass
Nick Tsiavos

Sound Design
Ben Carey

Visual Director
Alexander Berlage

Gallery

VENUE

Carriageworks
Bay 20, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh

duration

Each artist performs a 45-minute set

Press reviews

The Sydney Morning Herald
Read More
“…a thoughtful and hugely impressive co-creation… an outstanding tour-de-force of nuanced vocal flexibility, dissembling characterisation and physical theatre.”

Keep in touch

General Inquiries ​

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General Information

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

Categories
Past Productions

The Howling Girls

The Howling Girls

World premiere

by Damien Ricketson and Adena Jacobs

In the weeks following Sept 11, five young women present separately to hospitals in New York with identical symptoms. They are unable to swallow, and believe that some debris or body part from the destruction has lodged in their throats. The surgeon who examines them finds no obstruction.

The Howling Girls is a new chamber opera dissecting the medium and metaphor of the voice, its loss and attempted reconstitution. A solo voice constricted, wheezing, stammering, in decay, a teenage chorus of howling girls, an absent mass, an unearthly theremin, a spectacle of fragmented bodies and voices. A sublime aural and perceptual encounter.

Composer
Damien Ricketson

Musical Director
Jack Symonds

Director
Adena Jacobs

Set & Costume Design
Eugyeene Teh

Lighting Design
Jenny Hector

Sound Design
Bob Scott

Soloist
Jane Sheldon

The House that Dan Built
Grace Campbell
Kittu Hoyne
Kiri Jenssen
Emily Pincock,
Jayden Selvakumaraswamy
Sylvie Woodhouse

The Howling Girls is supported by Creative Partnerships Australia through Plus1 

stream now

Gallery

VENUE

Carriageworks
Bay 20, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh

duration

60 minutes

Press Reviews

TimeOut
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“This is the pinnacle of their [Sydney Chamber Opera’s] daring provocations and an essential work for anybody wanting to experience the cutting edge of the operatic art form.”
Audrey Journal
Read More
"...The Howling Girls coils around the listener like some impossibly ancient Siren song.”
The Sydney Morning Herald
Read More
“… a remarkable tour-de-force”
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Keep in touch

General Inquiries ​

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General Information

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

Categories
Past Productions

The Rape of Lucretia

The Rape of Lucretia

Opera in two acts, op. 47 by Benjamin Britten
Libretto by Ronald Duncan

A co-production of Sydney Chamber Opera and Victorian Opera

This is where chamber opera begins: with an unforgivable crime and a hollow prayer.

For composer Benjamin Britten, the Roman tale of Lucretia’s tragic violation at the hands of the tyrant Tarquinius became the vessel for an operatic revolution. In place of grandeur and bombast, his work was taut and intimate, with only eight singers and a chamber ensemble to score their every thought and action.

Britten’s Lucretia seethes with psychological insight and desperate yearning for divinity. It is a ritual circle carved out for the noblest acts of humanity. And the most depraved.

SCO brings this pioneering work to a Sydney stage for the first time this century. Helpmann Award-winning Artistic Director of Sydney Theatre Company Kip Williams returns to SCO after his ravishing production of An Index of Metals to direct rising star Anna Dowsley (Le Nozze di Figaro for Opera Australia; SCO’s Ich habe genug) in the career-defining title role.

Conductor
Jack Symonds

Director
Kip Williams

Associate Director
& Costume Design

Elizabeth Gadsby

Set Design
David Fleischer

Lighting Design
Damien Cooper

Singers
Anna Dowsley
Celeste Lazarenko
Jane Sheldon
Jessica O’Donoghue
Andrew Goodwin
Nathan Lay
Jeremy Kleeman
Simon Lobelson

Instruments
Miki Tsunoda
Nicholas Waters
James Wannan
Mee Na Lojewski
Steven Adler
Jane Bishop
Ben Opie
Jason Noble
Anthony Grimm
Michael Wray
Rowan Phemister
Joshua Hill

These performances of The Rape of Lucretia by Benjamin Britten are given by permission of Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd, exclusive agents for Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Ltd of London

Gallery

VENUE

Carriageworks
Bay 20, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh

duration

110 minutes, including one 20 minute interval

Press Reviews

TimeOut
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“Musically, and in terms of its visual design, the production is unequivocally strong. All eight soloists are well cast and sing very, very well.”
Sydney Morning Herald
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“… a cogently fresh look at a rich though problematic piece.”
Bachtrack
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“… there was excellence throughout the entire eight-person cast.”
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We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

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Past Productions

Biographica

Biographica

World Premiere

Presented by Sydney Festival in association
with Ensemble Offspring

Music & Concept by Mary Finsterer
Libretto by Tom Wright

Sydney Chamber Opera continues their pioneering development of the new opera canon with Biographica by Australian composer Mary Finsterer with a libretto by Tom Wright. Biographica is an intricate dance of genius and madness, inspired by the life and demise of Renaissance polymath Gerolamo Cardano.

Cardano was a magnificent and eccentric mind – a prolific inventor and flawed father, solitary, aggressive, peculiar. A man who would listen to a guardian angel, swear by science, and dream of defeating time. He wrote the first texts on the mathematics of gambling, was a world-renowned surgeon, invented algebra, and was a pioneer of sign-language. Leading Australian actor Mitchell Butel stars in this fascinating role, with Finsterer’s music reflecting the piercing beauty of the Renaissance much like maniera painting; rich, florid, bold.

Malthouse’s resident director Janice Muller unites with SCO to develop this extraordinary interrogation of the mind and the soul.

Conductor
Jack Symonds

Director
Janice Muller

Set & Costume Design
Charles Davis

Lighting Design
Matt Cox

AV Design
James Brown

Creative Consultant
Matthew Lutton

With
Mitchell Butel
Jane Sheldon
Anna Fraser
Jessica O’Donoghue
Andrew Goodwin
Simon Lobelson

Musicians
Ensemble Offspring

Miki Tsunoda
Anna McMichael
James Wannan
Freya Schack-Arnott
Kirsty McCahon
Lamorna Nightingale
Jason Noble
Christina Leonard
Zubin Kanga
Rowan Phemister
Claire Edwardes

Anna Fraser appears courtesy of the Song Company

Gallery

VENUE

Carriageworks
Bay 20, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh

duration

85 minutes

Press Reviews

The Australian
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“Inventive, engaging, stimulating and moving, Biographica is an outstanding new opera. It deserves regular performances as well as a permanent place in the repertory.”
TimeOut
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“A triumphant level of achievement is what Sydney has come to routinely expect from the SCO; this premiere of a much-anticipated work… shows they are now a significant national cultural asset.”
Limelight
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“a dark, vividly realised portrayal of a fascinatingly intelligent yet flawed character”
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Keep in touch

General Inquiries ​

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General Information

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang