To younger audiences, opera may evoke centuries past (not to mention the fact that it’s an art form that’s historically been dominated by male composers), but a quartet of new works by Australian female composers updates and diversifies opera for our times. Inspiration for the pieces range from the writing of Margaret Atwood and Sylvia Plath to a rare bird to Greek mythology, showing off all the possibilities of opera today.
The aptly titled Breaking Glass showcase will premiere one-act operas from Peggy Polias, Josephine Macken, Georgia Scott and Bree van Reyk at Carriageworks, in partnership with Sydney Chamber Opera (SCO) and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s Composing Women Program. The showcase is co-directed by women as well: Clemence Williams (Chorus) and SCO Artistic Associate Danielle Maas. The featured vocalists will be Jane Sheldon, Jessica O’Donoghue, Mitch Riley and Simon Lobelson.
You can watch the premiere this Saturday April 25 night on Facebook, just keep your eye on this page at 7.30pm.
So, what will you be seeing? The Greek saga of Odysseus receives a timely update in Peggy Polias’s Commute, which explores the risks around a woman walking home at night. Josephine Macken’s The Tent combines intricate sound with Margaret Atwood’s unflinching words to map out “a landscape of pulsating terror”. Georgia Scott’s Her Dark Marauder builds on the poetry of Sylvia Plath to explore the perennial themes of women and individual identity. And Bree van Reyk’s The Invisible Bird follows the hard-fought survival journey of an endangered Australian parrot.
Tune in on Saturday and in the meantime, you can take a look behind the scenes of the production here.
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