About Me

My photo
I was born in Northern Ireland, live in Australia, and am a composer, conductor and actor. I am Head of Composition and Production at The Australian Institute of Music and Musical Director of the Sydney Male Choir. I've been Visiting Composer at Universities and schools and my music has been performed in Australia, the USA, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, China, Italy, Ireland, Taiwan, Argentina, Mexico and Puerto Rico by many international concert artists and ensembles. My compositional interests include music for orchestra, the theatre (including dance), the voice and the church, the combination of electro-acoustic and acoustic resources especially in real time, the exploration of virtuosity and indigenous Australian music. I've conducted in festivals and concerts all over the world, as well as acted in too many professional theatre works to list here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The start of a new adventure!

This evening is the first presentation of an excerpt from the new opera The Pea Pickers by Maltese-Australian composer (and sometimes doctoral student :-) Jeff Galea, with a libretto by Bonnie Cassidy. It is based, of course, on the Eve Langely book of the same name, published in 1942. It shouldn't be confused with Ivy Getchell's The Pea Picker's Daughter, published last year.

My role is to conduct - to wave my arms in time to the music until it stops, then turn around and bow - while the small ensemble and singers' role is to perform the opera in spite of the conductor.

I conducted Jeff's previous opera Wounding Song, (I believe I suggested the title) back in 2008 at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre with a cast of University students and a mostly professional orchestra. This work is quite different. It has no Maltese folks elements, but it does draw, in one scene, on a kind of reel which features the violin - it's not quite Irish, but you can smell the potcheen.

There are three singers, Lotte Latukefu, Jane Sheldon and Mara Davis, whose voices are all completely different and add texture to the characterisation. All three are fine musicians, which is a joy to find in a singer with a great voice. The ensemble of violin, guitar, 'cello and electronics are terrific to work with too - all of them being quite flexible and willing to do a great job. An added bonus for me is having Laura, my dear wife, as electronics monkey, which satisfies two of her cravings - music making and playing with gadgets

Jeff's music is very singable, despite the opening tritones for the soprano! His harmonic language is very assured and he is, as the late Andrew Foldi would have described him, a true "man of the theatre", in that he is wiling to change things to make them work dramatically and musically: in opera, the are often the same thing of course.

When the smoke has cleared from this evening, I'll write a little about the music and my thoughts about it - right now is not the right time, as I'm about 10 hours away from performing it! Straight after the performance, I'll be attending a concert by the new string quartet "The Noise" at The Australian Museum. It seem like every interesting composer/friend is going to be there tonight. It should be a blast.

No comments:

Post a Comment