Opera in Melbourne is about to Fly!

Lyric Opera brings Australian stories to the operatic stage with a boutique Melbourne production of Barry Conyngham’s opera Fly, based on the life of pioneering Australian explorer and aeronautical engineer Lawrence Hargrave.

This powerful and accessible Australian opera returns to the stage, on Sunday 25 August, for the first time since its premiere by the Victorian State Opera in 1984.

Originally written for the opening of the then brand new State Theatre at Arts Centre Melbourne, this intimate production of Fly will open 35 years to the day of its premiere but this time at fortyfivedownstairs, in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD.

The work, written by esteemed Melbourne composer and Dean of the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Barry Conyngham and his librettists Murray Copland. The work celebrates the life and achievements of Lawrence Hargrave, the somewhat neglected Australian aeronautical engineer whose discoveries led the world in the race to enable man to fly.

Offering audiences, a rare chance to see and hear Australian history, Lyric’s revival will rediscover the brilliance of Hargrave’s mind and the beauty of Conyngham’s music.

Artistic Director, Pat Miller, said this performance is Melbourne’s chance to experience our history and identity brought to life accessibly and affordably on the operatic stage.

“Hargrave’s intriguing mind and observation of waves and the movement of wildlife led him to consider flight. Without him, there’s every chance man’s ability to fly would have happened much later than it did,” said Pat.

“Fly is Australia’s history turned into art through music, drama and design. We’re bringing audiences an immersive experience, in an intimate space, to tap into Hargrave’s mind. It is a performance not to be missed.”

Barry Conyngham, a large part of Melbourne’s musical fabric, is delighted to see Lyric Opera bring his music back to life.

“Hargrave was an intrepid inventor and he’s fairly credited with inventing the box kite, which was a fundamental secret of flight. I love this piece, it will be great to hear it again,” said Barry.

The production marks Lara Kerestes return to Lyric Opera, after her acclaimed direction of Il Signor Bruschino in 2016. The cast includes international baritone Sam Roberts-Smith as Hargrave, alongside Lyric favourite Carolyn Vercoe as Mrs Hargrave.

Joining Lara is an exceptional creative team; based on a concept from Prahran interior design firm Zunica, the production with feature lighting by acclaimed designer Richard Vabre, sets by Tom Petty and costumes by Nathan Burmeister. This brand-new chamber orchestration of Conyngham’s accessible music will be conducted by Lyric’s Artistic Director, Pat Miller.

Fly premieres at Fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane Melbourne, on August 25.

Lyric Opera continues. its mission to make opera relevant, affordable and accessible with this production. The 90-minute opera explores our history and identity as Australians and its message is as important today as it was at the premiere 35 years ago.

Fly will be performed from 25 August to 1 September, at Fortyfive Downstairs, 45 Flinders Lane from 25 August – 1 September. Tickets are $55, or $35 concession. Tickets at: https://www.fortyfivedownstairs.com/wp2016/event/Fly-a-chamber-opera/