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Speechless : for four vocal soloists, Choir and Bass Orchestra

by Cat Hope (2019)



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Speechless : for four vocal soloists, Choir and Bass Orchestra / Cat Hope.

Library shelf no. 782.1/HOP 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

Speechless is based on "The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention" report 2014, presented by the then president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs. Photographs, drawings, graphs, colour scheme and layout are used as the basis for a graphic, animated score read on networked iPads. The opera aims to be accessabile for musicians of any genre to perform, and there are no words in the sung material.

Work Details

Year: 2019

Instrumentation: 4 vocal soloists, choir, bass orchestra, electronics.

Duration: 50 min.

Difficulty: Medium — graphic score

Contents note: Overture -- Act I -- Act II -- Interlude -- Act III.

Dedication note: Dedicated to Karl Ockelford

Commission note: Commissioned with funds provided by WA Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Perth Festival, Australia Council.

First performance: by Decibel New Music, Australian Bass Orchestra, Judith Dodsworth, Karina Utomo, Sage Pbbbt, Caitlin Cassidy at Speechless (Sunset Heritage Precinct) on 26 Feb 2019

Other materials, such as recordings, ABC Classic Podcast about the opera, videos, photographs, reviews, video of premiere, program notes and blog entries around the development of the work can be found here.

The composer has noted the following styles, genres, influences, etc. in reference to this work:
Georgi Ligeti, Zbigniew Karkowski, Diamanda Galas, Hermann Nitsch, Finnish Screaming Mens Chior, Ennio Morricone.

Finalist in the 2020 APRA AMC Art Music Awards (Dramatic Work of the Year).

Awards & Prizes

Year Award Placing Awarded for/to
2020 Art Music Awards: Work of the Year: Dramatic Joint Winner Cat Hope


Performances of this work

26 Feb 2019: at Speechless (Sunset Heritage Precinct). Featuring Caitlin Cassidy, Karina Utomo, Sage Pbbbt, Decibel New Music, Australian Bass Orchestra, Judith Dodsworth.

28 Jul 2017: at Speechless (Waterside Workers Hall). Featuring Cat Hope, Australian Bass Orchestra.

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