This Tuesday morning, I have received in the mail the program book published by Victorian Opera in Melbourne for the world première of Iain Grandage's opera The Riders. It was first performed on September 23rd in the Merlyn Theatre (Coopers Malthouse).
It is a 32 pages brochure, and it contains :
- messages from Richard Mills (artistic director and conductor), Marion Potts (artistic director and director), Iain Grandage (composer), Alison Croggon (librettist) ;
- complete cast and crew ;
- synopsis ;
- biographies with pictures.
On the composer's website, this work is listed as his first opera, though his catalogue already includes Dryblower and the Water Girl (opera for children, 2002) and Red Cap (musical, 2007), among other stage works.
The librettist Alison Croggon transformed Tim Winton's novel into a libretto. Here is what she wrote about it :
The Riders is about a man whose wife inexplicably abandons him and his daughter. Scully, one of Wintons's bluff, emotionally inarticulate men, is renovating a house in Ireland, waiting for this wife Jennifer and his daughter Billie to arrive from Perth and complete the home he is making for them. But when he goes to the airport, only Billie, traumatised and silent, is waiting for him. The novel consists of what unravels after this event, as Scully hunts frantically through Europe for his wife. (reproduced from the program book).Grandage wrote his score for a chamber orchestra including : violin, viola, cello, double bass, recorders, bass clarinet, horn, trumpet, trombone, bass trombone, guitars, piano, accordion, sampler and percussion.
The cast for the world première was : Barry Ryan (Scully), Jessica Aszodi (Jennifer), Isabela Calderon (Billie), Dimity Shepherd (Marianne), David Rogers-Smith (Alex) and Jerzy Kozlowski (Arthur). Members of the Orchestra Victoria were conducted by Richard Mills. The opera was directed by Marion Potts with sets and costumes designed by Dale Ferguson.
The performance of September 27th was recorded by ABC and broadcast by ABC Classic FM on Sunday, November 30th. The duration was 98 minutes.