World premieres, certainly from an Australian standpoint, don’t come much bigger than this! NED KELLY, composed by Luke Styles with libretto by Peter Goldsworthy and given birth here by Lost and Found as part of the 2019 Perth International Arts Festival.
Performed at the heritage listed No1 Mill at Jarrahdale the venue is an enormous 2 sided tin sawmill shed, and it is the first time this had been used as a performance space.
With an orchestra of 17 and instruments including banjo and branch of eucalyptus, the orchestra and performers were guided through this score (a fantastic melting pot of folk song and percussion) by the steady ever reliable hand of a proud Chris van Tuinen at the helm…..this was no easy feat given the barn like quality of the venue and distance between performers and players. The chorus, made up of singers from the community, sang and danced and seemed to be having much fun.
The cast did a mighty job! Amongst them, Adrian Tambourini was in fine voice as Joe Byrne, as was Fiona Campbell as Ellen, with other roles taken by Pia Harris, Robert Macfarlane and Matt James Ruben Ward. The role of Ned, is understandably big and Sam Dundas is towering and simpatico in the role. His voice is full and glorious in both sung and spoken text. I hope this opera is taken up elsewhere, it deserves to be and is an important addition to the Australian operatic canon….and everyone needs to see Sam as Ned.
Written by Nicole Youl @NicoleYoulOperaSinger