The beautiful and painful music of the heart
A new opera after the celebrated novel by Helen Garner
THE CHILDREN’S BACH is about love’s many facets: familial, romantic, sexual, conditional, unconditional; and how sometimes the love you have is not enough. Just as music demands learning, experimentation and discipline, so does life.
Athena and Dexter lead a frumpish, happy family life, sheltered from the tackier aspects of the modern world and bound by duty towards a disturbed child, Billy. Their comfortable rut is disrupted by the arrival of Elizabeth, a tough nut from Dexter’s past. She brings with her Vicki, her lonely teenage sister, who looks for a mother in Athena; Philip, her charming, talented, evasive man; and Poppy, Philip’s twelve-year-old daughter, one of those prematurely wise children that a broken marriage can produce, a puritan who casts a cool eye on the disreputable antics of her elders. In the upheaval Athena sees a way out: it leads into a world whose casual egotism she has dreamed of without being able to imagine its consequences.
2008: World Premiere Season, Merlyn Theatre, Malthouse (19 June – 5 July)