The Buckley opera

Opera, Music Theatre & Cabaret

The Buckley opera

A narrative chamber opera by Antony Ransome about the Sorrento 1803 Settlement and the personal story of the convict William Buckley, to be performed in Rosebud on 26 & 27 April 2019.

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A new work by a local composer on a timeless theme: the story of William Buckley – and the short-lived convict settlement on the beautiful but unforgiving southern Mornington Peninsula – retold according to historical texts (Richard Cotter, libretto) for and with the local community, using a top professional baritone and other professional performers.

It is proposed to give two performances in conjunction with the Rosebud Astral Theatre Society and the Peninsula Chamber Musicians in the Memorial Hall in Rosebud on 26 and 27 April 2019 as part of the 2019 National Trust Australian Heritage Festival. Fundraising and casting in 2018; rehearsals in early 2019; stage rehearsals in April 2019. The composer Antony Ransome or the associate conductor Joseph Lallo will conduct.

The project is something for the whole local community to engage in. People need to know more about a local hero and there has never been an opera about William Buckley’s life. Opera is only available on the Southern Peninsula in films shown in the Rosebud and Sorrento cinemas. The concept and value of opera needs to be underlined for the local community. Our non-profit organisation has been formed solely to create this project under the auspices and with the collaboration of the Rosebud Astral Theatre Society. With energy and goodwill, we are gathering financial assistance to the tune of around $50,000.

Donations will be used to pay performers, music printing, hall hire, staging and publicity costs. Tickets will be available in advance from for performances on 26 and 27 April 2019. (Hall capacity is about 200.) Publicity will be via our website and Facebook and via contact to local organisations and schools as well as the press and leaflets and posters. The National Trust will advertise the project in its publications. The Mornington Peninsula Shire, the Friends of the 1803 Settlement, the Nepean Historical Society and Peninsula Chamber Musicians will also spread the word.


The Buckley opera




Opera, Music Theatre & Cabaret

Live Projects


With his librettist, writer and local historian Richard Cotter, Rye opera singer and conductor Antony Ransome has written an opera on a local theme: the convict William Buckley’s escape in 1803 from the Collins Settlement in Sorrento and his subsequent adventures. It is envisaged that all elements of the Peninsula community will be able to be involved, from local indigenous people via schools and activity groups to professional musicians. Two performances are planned for May 2019. Lt. Governor Collins, Rev. Knopwood, Lt. Tuckey and other historical characters will be brought to life for a modern audience in the Memorial Hall Rosebud on the southern Mornington Peninsula as part of the National Trust Heritage Festival in that year.

Antony was a professional singer in Europe for thirty years. He appeared frequently on radio and in cathedrals, concert halls and opera houses in Britain and Europe. He founded the Wren Consort for performances and recordings of baroque cantatas, and has sung over sixty roles in the operatic baritone repertory including Scarpia, Jochanaan, Barak and Rigoletto. He now composes and conducts the Southern Peninsula Singers on the Mornington Peninsula.


Hans Henkell



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