Making their Melbourne debut, the acclaimed Sydney Chamber Opera brings David Malouf’s classic novel, Fly Away Peter to Arts Centre Melbourne in three shows from 21 – 24 October as part of the 2015 Melbourne Festival.
In honour of the Gallipoli centenary, Australian composer Elliott Gyger, director Imara Savage and librettist Pierce Wilcox tell a story of the Australian spirit that begins at peace, builds to tragedy, and ends in transcendence. Performed with staff musicians from The Melbourne Conservatorium of Music New Music Ensemble, the work premiered at Sydney’s Carriageworks in May this year to much acclaim.
This new contemporary opera tells the story of Jim Saddler, a young birdwatcher from Queensland thrust into the nightmare of the Western Front during WWI. Fly Away Peter travels from a land of life to a panorama of horror through Jim’s voice of delicate insight.
Librettist Pierce Wilcox, who adapted the 1982 novel into the operatic work, said it was more than just a great war story. “It’s not literally just a story of men fighting men, it’s a story of landscape, of life and death,” said Wilcox.
“It goes from the most beautiful of Australian settings from the bird sanctuary in south-east Queensland, to the mud and the horror of the Western Front, to another place entirely beyond our real world. That journey of our central character was so special and David’s writing is so poetic and lyrical that it’s kind of perfect for opera.”
Director: Imara Savage Conductor: Jack Symonds Performers: Mitchell Riley, Jessica Aszodi, Brenton Spiteri and The Melbourne Conservatorium Of Music New Music Ensemble Set & Costume Design: Elizabeth Gadsby Lighting Design: Verity Hampson Movement Director: Lucas Jervies
Fly Away Peter
Fairfax Studio – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 21 – 24 October 2015
Bookings: 1300 182 183 or online at: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au
Image: Fly Away Peter – photo by Zan Wimberley