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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

This New Australian Opera Is Inspired by the Life of Celebrated Artist Brett Whiteley

It's coming to the Sydney Opera House in 2019 as part of Opera Australia's new season.
By Sarah Ward
August 18, 2018
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This New Australian Opera Is Inspired by the Life of Celebrated Artist Brett Whiteley

It's coming to the Sydney Opera House in 2019 as part of Opera Australia's new season.
By Sarah Ward
August 18, 2018
  shares

Two icons of Australian creativity will combine in the country's newest opera, which sees Opera Australia take on the life of famous Aussie artist Brett Whiteley.

Called Whiteley, the production will come to the Sydney Opera House across July 15–30, 2019, exploring and honouring not only the celebrated, two-time Archibald Prize-winning painter, but his wife and muse Wendy. And, as well as turning their tale into a song-filled drama, the opera will feature a digital backdrop that'll incorporate the artist's iconic pieces onto huge LED screens.

The set design will be Dan Potra's domain — and if you saw any of the Handa Opera shows on Sydney Harbour, or even just saw pictures, then you'll know you're in for a visual treat. As for the rest of the talent behind this take on an Aussie talent, it'll be directed by David Freeman, with music composed by Elena Kats-Chernin and libretto by Justin Fleming.

The opera will mark the second time that Whiteley's story and works have made the jump to another medium in just a few short years, following on from the 2017 documentary also called Whiteley — but so far, this latest effort is exclusive to Sydney as part of Opera Australia's packed 2019 season. While a slate of Melbourne productions have also been announced for next year, Whiteley isn't taking the trip down south yet. That means art fans should schedule a mid-year getaway, or cross their fingers that Whiteley will feature among the company's touring productions down the track.

Whitely comes to the Sydney Opera House from July 15–30, 2019. For more information or to buy tickets, visit the Opera Australia website.

Image: Photo courtesy Brett Whiteley (Australia; England, b.1939, d.1992). Self portrait in the studio 1976. Oil, collage, hair on canvas, 200.5 x 259 cm. Art Gallery of New South Wales. Photo credit: AGNSW, Chritopher Snee.

Published on August 18, 2018 by Sarah Ward

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