David Chesworth - Experimental Opera


3 acts, 90 minutes
Composed by David Chesworth 
Libretto by Douglas Horton 
Directed by Douglas Horton

The experimental opera Lacuna is an allegoric black comedy of Western political history. Horton's libretto distils particular themes that have been repeated throughout Western history with regard to war, church and government. It tells the story of two warring kingdoms represented as a game of chess. Charting the final hours in the demise of Orpheus' upper world, his queen, knights, bishops and rooks are 'taken' through seemingly inevitable processes - processes which reflect universal concerns with power and conflict. 

Lacuna draws on parallels between the medieval and the contemporary, both in its narrative and music. David Chesworth's score is aurally rich and varied, drawing on a highly original collaboration of electronic and acoustic instrumentation, reinforcing the idea of fictional musical cultures.

Commissioned and produced by Chamber Made Opera 
Performances at Gasworks Theatre, Melbourne, 1992 

Bernadette Robinson - soprano 
Wendy Grose - soprano 
Jeannie Marsh - mezzo 
Louise Fox - mezzo 
Jon Jackson - male soprano 
Tyrone Landau – tenor 
Steve Lane – tenor 
Lyndon Terracini - baritone 
Ian Cousins - baritone 
Peter Neville - percussion 
John McAll - sampler 
Xenia Hanusiak - percussion 
Simon Myers - trombone 

'An unexpected and welcome rarity in contemporary opera. An unequivocal success' - The Age, Melbourne
'A potently powerful music-theatre event' - The Herald-Sun, Melbourne

The Two Executioners 350x441 w100

The Two Executioners

Composed by David Chesworth
Libretto by Douglas Horton
Text by Fernando Arrabal with
 Douglas Horton
Directed by Douglas Horton

The libretto is an adaptation by Douglas Horton of the one act play by Absurdist Fernando Arrabal. The libretto concerns a mother who argues with her two daughters while in an adjacent room their father is being tortured to death. 

Horton says of Arrabal: 'Many Dadaists and early Absurdists gave expression to their beliefs about an absurd and irrational universe by denigrating and destroying the aesthetic and dramatic conventions of their medium. Arrabal was able to give expression to this world through convention, and through absence - the deliberate withholding of key contextual information.'

The opera, from a musical point of view, could be described as an exploration of recitative, a term traditionally used to describe a style of vocal composition in which melody, fixed rhythm and metre are largely disregarded in favour of some imitation of the natural inflections of speech. Rather than using traditional operatic forms of recitative, Chesworth explores different ways of setting the prose with melody and a variety of vocal styles and techniques.

Commissioned and produced by Chamber Made Opera
Performances at Napier Street Theatre, Melbourne, 1994

Bernadette Robinson - soprano
Tracy Bourne soprano
Deanne Flatley mezzo
John McAll - keyboard and samples
Peter Neville - percussion
Robert Jackson - saxophone

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