Conflict as an act of intimacy

Set high in the sky in an airline passenger cabin, Turbulence plays out as a musical drama between a Mother (soprano), Daughter (actor), and the voices of a female pilot, flight announcer and baby.

The parallel monologues of the singing mother and her speaking daughter tilt, interweave, and collide; at times their articulations in the white-noise spectrum seem to be their only common language.

This charged sonic environment includes the popping and rushing of an unreliable flight intercom system, an amplified transistor radio, a hand-luggage-sized synthesiser, and the haunting aria ‘For those who are near you are far away’, with its soaring opening line, ‘Sky as blue’.

‘Turbulence… takes us on an intriguing flight. […] Juliana Hodkinson’s composition is unusual, full of tremulous glissando and non-standard vocal technique against a synthesised score and a libretto (Cynthia Troup) using the metaphor of aeroplane flight to explore the subliminal eddies that underlie the mother/daughter relationship.  Turbulence distils private poetry and sonic fascination from that insight.

‘The space is perfectly suited to the opera, or the opera to the space, revealing the incredible power of chamber opera to unite disparate environments through artistic aims’

‘From the boarding procedures to the meditative opening sequence, through turbulence to the shock ending, this artistic simulation of an early flight had much to offer’

The World Premiere season was presented in partnership with the New Music Network, as part of Melbourne Fringe.

Related links:
Score and libretto
Digital film version by Peter Humble