Sydney Chamber Opera: earth.voice.body

Sydney-Chamber-Opera-presents-earth.voice.body-photo-by-Zan-Wimberley Carriageworks, one of Australia’s most significant contemporary multi-arts organisations, will present earth.voice.body – a new triple bill of solo works by resident company Sydney Chamber Opera from 28 September to 7 October 2023.

Featuring a new Australian work, a radical interpretation of a 20th-century classic, and a major work by a leading 21st-century international composer, the program is designed as a reflection of Sydney Chamber Opera’s major musical and dramatic achievements.

Lauded for the focus, originality and ingenuity of their solo works, audiences are invited to experience Sydney Chamber Opera’s aesthetic mission in a single evening through three interlinking monodramas.

The Shape of the Earth, based on Australian writer Patrick White’s seminal novel Voss, leads the program. Composed by Artistic Director Jack Symonds and Pierce Wilcox, the work will be directed by the company’s acclaimed frequent collaborator Alexander Berlage (Resonant Bodies Festival, Future Remains) and performed by Paris-based vocalist Mitchell Riley.

One of Sydney Chamber Opera’s first ever performers, Riley has grown with the company into an internationally acclaimed performer of great physical and vocal dexterity, working across opera, theatre, clowning, and puppetry.

The second solo work is La voix humaine by French composer Francis Poulenc based on the play of the same name by Jean Cocteau. Directed by award-winning director, composer, and sound designer Clemence Williams (Breaking Glass), the work will be performed by Australian soprano Celeste Lazarenko.

In this major 20th century monodrama, a woman relives a heart-breaking relationship on the phone to her ex-lover, in a perfectly-pitched unfolding of heightened realism. Often performed, yet rarely interrogated, Sydney Chamber Opera is set to offer a fresh new perspective on this much-loved classic.

Completing the program is Quatre instants by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, with a libretto in French by Amin Maalouf. A song cycle in four movements, each song reflects the various dimensions of love that makes up a torrid romantic relationship: longing, desire, pain and consummation.

A tour-de-force by one of the greatest composers of recent times, Saariaho’s post-Spectral masterpiece will be performed by Australian mezzo-soprano Emily Edmonds, whose dramatic vocal lines will be brought to life by a glittering piano accompaniment.

Creating a world-first staging of the work is again Clemence Williams, who will draw it into the world of La voix humaine, linking French music of past and present.

earth.voice.body is an exciting reflection of our ongoing interrogation of operatic form that our audiences have come to expect, with each work looking at loss in one form or another,” said Artistic Director of Sydney Chamber Opera, Jack Symonds.

“This is a triple bill of works no other company in Australia can or would create, offering innovative new perspectives on the form of solo performance and featuring some of Australia’s most outstanding performers,” said Symonds.

“Carriageworks is proud to present Sydney Chamber Opera’s highly anticipated triple bill program. For anyone yet to experience the boundary-pushing work of Sydney Chamber Opera, this new performance is the perfect introduction to the musical rigour and vibrant programming that make them one of Australia’s most compelling contemporary opera companies,” said Carriageworks CEO, Fergus Linehan.

Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh (Sydney)
Season: 28 September – 7 October 2023
Information and Bookings:

Image: Sydney Chamber Opera presents earth.voice.body – photo by Zan Wimberley