Lawrence Hargrave, the man on the twenty dollar note, was an explorer, engineer and inventor. At the time of Federation he led the world in the race to enable man to fly. Barry Conyngham turned this story into an opera for the Victorian State Opera in 1984. 34 years after the premiere and a century after Hargrave’s death, Lyric, with a commitment to Australian operas, wishes to bring this piece of musical and cultural history back to life.
Lyric plans to undertake a week-long development at Chapel off Chapel to unpack the musical complexity of the work and staging requirements. This includes workshopping the specially created installation style design by interior design company Zunica. This is a vital creative time to bring together performers and creative team and will culminate in a performance of sections of the opera, presentation of the design, discussions with the director as well as a forum with members of the 1984 production’s cast and crew.
Both this opera and the man who inspired it are important parts of Australia’s forgotten history. We need to bring FLY back to the stage because it raises questions about our Australian identity that are as relevant today as they were when the work premiered a generation ago, or a century ago when the opera is set. No one apart from Lyric in Australia is doing this type of work, revisiting and re-examining Australian operas that are telling our stories.
This process will allow our artists and creatives to come together to explore how best to ask these questions of identity. It will help us understand how to combine the opera’s intoxicating fusion of music, theatre and design to ensure that Lyric can create a culturally relevant and artistically innovative production for the twenty-first century.
“FLY is Australia’s history turned into art through music, drama and design,”
Pat Miller, Artistic Director
Lyric is undergoing a significant shift in operations and collaborations. It has set its eyes firmly on becoming the Australian opera company that is known and loved for bringing a distinctively fresh experience of opera to a new generation of audiences. It provides essential opportunities for emerging professional artists on the stage, in the orchestra and behind the scenes. All donations to Lyric will be used to pay fees for singers and the creative team.
Lyric is a bold and dynamic boutique opera company, committed to enriching the operatic repertoire through creative partnerships and lesser-known works, particularly operas by and about Australians. From the emoji surtitles and breakdancing in Rameau’s Pygmalion to the sold out cabaret version of Malcolm Williamson’s Black Comedy/Spy thriller Our Man in Havana (Australian premiere), this is your chance to help Lyric redefine popular opera in the 21st century.