NOVA 2010

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Photo credit: Jeff Busby and Daisy Noyes

In 2009, Chamber Made Opera and Victorian Opera entered into a major new partnership to seek out new opera ventures throughout Australia (NOVA). A nationwide call for proposals drew an overwhelming response, clearly demonstrating the need to nurture the chamber opera and music theatre scene. A panel of experts including Chamber Made Opera’s David Young and Victorian Opera’s Richard Gill selected five diverse chamber opera and music theatre works.

The selection

Razing Hypatia by Kevin March – a video opera based on Jane Montgomery Griffiths’ play about Hypatia, the 5th century mathematician and astronomer who was lynched and murdered for being a pagan.

The Devil Builds A Chapel by Peter Casey – a chamber opera set in the NSW Southern Highlands in 1960 that tells the tale of a charismatic priest who inspires the girls of a nearby school to behave as if demonically possessed.

Playing With Fire by Sandra France – the backdrop to this chamber opera is the devastating bushfires that hit Canberra in 2003. It explores adultery, dishonesty and a bizarre love triangle that leads ultimately to a tragic death.

The Un-Dead by David Stanhope  – a three-act, three-Vampire opera complete with innocent victims, blood-thirsty bats and Count Dracula himself.

WE by Chris Dench – a dystopian sci-fi opera based on Yevgeny Zamyatin’s 1920 novel, which influenced Orwell’s 1984, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. The story is so familiar as to scarcely need reiterating: potential rebel boy falls in love with subversive femme fatale; he revolts against the State, is caught and tried, sacrifices the girl, and returns to conformity.

These selected works were workshopped and rehearsed by some of Melbourne’s most talented and accomplished singers and musicians.

Composer and librettists were given the opportunity to hear and experience their work – in most cases hearing it for the first time –  as well as interact and collaborate with the performers.