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26 March 2019

NOW 2019 - new opera in focus

NOW 2019 - new opera in focus

NOW New Opera Workshop will take place in Brisbane on 5-7 April, presented by the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University and Opera Queensland. International conductor and Conservatorium's Head of Opera, Nicholas Cleobury, gives a summary of all that's in store for the weekend.

Whither Opera? What is its future? Is it still valid? What will it look and sound like in years to come? These and many more questions will be asked and examined at a weekend of forums, presentations and new compositions - including contemporary Australian works as well a performance, on Saturday afternoon, as the Opera Queensland's production of John Adams's A Flowering Tree as the centrepiece of the program.

The backbone of the weekend will be four forums curated by Stephen Emmerson, looking at the present state of opera, as well as its future. What new compositional styles and genres can there be? Where does opera sit alongside musical theatre, film, dance etc? How will new technology be used? The first forum will also feature a preview presentation by Megan Washington of her new opera, based on Georgia Blain's novel Between a Wolf and a Dog.

Opera students of Queensland Conservatorium will be performing four new short operatic excerpts by student composers, on libretti by students from Griffith Creative Writing School and some musical theatre numbers under the direction of Trevor Jones. Also included will be music by Peggy Glanville-Hicks, Iain Grandage and George Palmer - this will be hosted by Australian opera expert, baritone Michael Halliwell.

There will be performances of works by our four guest composers - Mary Finsterer, Paul Grabowsky, Elliott Gyger and Liza Lim. Four students from the Sydney Conservatorium's Composing Women project (directed by Liza Lim) will present their work. Queensland Conservatorium composers Paul Dean and Gerardo Dirie will also be featured.

Novelist and librettist David Malouf will give the keynote speech, librettist Pierce Wilcox will preview Oscar and Lucinda, the new opera he is writing with Elliott Gyger - he will be joined by director Patrick Nolan and conductor Jack Symonds. UK Composer and vocalist Laura Bowler and Canadian director Patrick Eakin Young (Artistic Director Erratica) will present improvisations and new work, and director and scenographer Tim Hopkins (University of Sussex Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre) will look at the technological and other directions opera can take. Laura and Tim will also work with the Conservatorium students through the week leading up to NOW.

The weekend will be filmed by the Griffith Film School and is supported by the Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre, who will publish subsequent material. Under the direction of Nicholas Cleobury (conductor and Conservatorium's Head of Opera), working with Scott Harrison (Director of the Conservatorium) and Patrick Nolan (Artistic Director of Opera Queensland), New Opera Workshop promises to be an exciting, enriching and provocative weekend, of interest to all who value opera and care for its future.

> For a detailed schedule and tickets (single and weekend passes available), please see the Opera Queensland website.

Head of Opera at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University, Nicholas Cleobury is also one of Britain’s most experienced and respected conductors, an expert choral conductor, teacher and lecturer, and has a passionate commitment to contemporary music.


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