A new Australian opera based on Peter Carey’s award-winning 1988 novel Oscar and Lucinda is among the highlights of Carriageworks’ season next year. Sydney Chamber Opera will give the world premiere of the opera, composed by Elliott Gyger, with a libretto by Pierce Wilcox, and directed by Patrick Nolan. Carey’s novel, which won the 1988 Booker Prize and the 1989 Miles Franklin Award, tells the story of an Anglican priest and an industrialist – both gamblers – who dream of building a glass cathedral and transporting it from colonial-era Sydney to Bellingen. This will be Gyger’s second opera, and his second to be premiered by Sydney Chamber Opera, following Fly Away Peter in 2015.
Oscar and Lucinda. Photo © Samuel Hodge
Oscar and Lucinda won’t be the first Carey novel to receive operatic treatment, with Brett Dean’s Bliss – with libretto by Amanda Holden – premiering to great success for Opera Australia in 2010 before going on to performances overseas.
A Drone Opera. Photo © Lucy Spartalis
Carriageworks has also announced another opera on its 2019 season. A Drone Opera, by Australian visual artist Matthew Sleeth, created with producer Kate Richards and music by electroacoustic composer and a sound artist Susan Frykberg, is structured around the Greek myth of Icarus and billed as “a seductive world featuring opera singers and an original libretto, laser set-design, and custom designed drones with live video feeds.”
Carriageworks’ 2019 will also feature a major work by artist Mike Parr, titled The Eternal Opening, a triple bill of solo work curated by Marrageku’s Artistic Directors titled Burrbgaja Yalirra / Dancing Forwards, Back to Back Theatre Company’s The Shadow Whose Prey the Hunter Becomes and the venue’s previously announced Sydney Festival shows, including Sydney Chamber Opera’s Australian premiere production of Kaija Saariaho’s Le Passion de Simone.