Opera! Opera for everybody! So much opera!

Well, I've hardly drawn breath since The Death of Albatross closed, and already I'm up to my earlobes in other projects.The poetry events at Yours and Owls have been tons of fun (the next one is a youth poetry evening on May 14 — hope you can be there!). The Ph.D. is proceeding apace.

But the big news is a couple of opera projects! The first, on July 7 and 8, is a night of opera favorites we're calling Opera at the Phoenix (because it's, like, opera, and it's at the Phoenix Theatre in Coniston, see?). A hefty serving of opera favorites, sung by some of Sydney's top young vocal stars (and even a guest appearance by Houston Dunleavy, who has many talents), will be followed by an intriguing re-envisaging of a swag of Händel arias staged as drama, and interspersed with a new poem cycle (which I blushingly own I have purpose-written for the piece). You are enthusiastically encouraged to come along, and to bring any music students you know. It's always a joy, and a vivid boost to a music student's learning, to see time-honored works performed live. Tickets are available right now at the Phoenix Theatre's booking page.

The second is exciting in a totally different way! Regular readers of this blog will recall that Houston and I have been collaborating for some time on an opera based on my story "The Dancing Mice and the Giants of Flanders". And the time has now come to give it its first airing. On August 25, we will be presenting a concert performance (for those unfamiliar with the term, it means all the music, but not the costumes or staging) of the entire opera. We've cast three terrific singers for this phase of the project development, and we're getting some preliminary sketches in from the animator, as the complete production will involve a fair bit of multimedia. We're really excited about bringing people in to hear the work, as the reactions of an audience are absolutely crucial to making it the best it can be.

I need to add, though, that we need your help. We've set up a crowdfunding page for you to help us get the resources we need to stage this event. It goes live on Friday, so please go now and click "follow project", and when you get the word, head on over to the page and please help with what you can spare. Crowdfunding is an amazing idea: art, and the funding for art, are no longer controlled by the government or by the moneyed elites. Instead, as one crowdfunding entrepreneur has said, "If you change the question behind funding from 'Will this make money?' to just 'Do I want this to happen?' — a lot more things become possible."



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