It was a stiflingly warm Sydney day, the kind where the heat is thick and a nap in a cool room beckons by mid-afternoon. Playwright, author and librettist Justin Fleming had been invited to lunch by Opera Australia’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini, the subject of their meeting a mystery.

Whiteley Brett Whiteley’s Self portrait in the studio, 1976. Image: Art Gallery of New South Wales. Purchased 1977. © Wendy Whiteley Photo: AGNSW, Christopher...

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