“We want to be part of the healing process.” Innocence librettist and producer Adam Goodburn discusses his hopes for the new Australian Opera.
It’s been seven years in the making, and Innocence librettist and producer Adam Goodburn is proud to announce there is just one scene remaining to be written for this new Australian opera which breaks many ‘operatic moulds’.
“Australians have stories to tell that are just as interesting as the European stories we so often see, there’s a voice here in Adelaide too. We have stories with darkness and light that are just as worthy to hear.”
Drawing inspiration from Stephen Orr’s novel, Time’s Long Ruin, the opera is about children who go missing, and the people left behind to deal with the fall-out. But as Goodburn is quick to point out, there is much more to this work than meets the eye.
“There has been a lot of focus on the parallels to Adelaide history, and the opera does draw upon the emotion of that shocking event, but there are many other elements to this opera that we should all be talking about.”
“First and foremost, I’m incredibly proud we have an all-South Australian creative team. I’m not sure if an opera has ever been created by an all local team, based on a book by a South Australian author, that’s set in South Australia! It’s a real achievement in itself.”
The composer, Anne Cawrse is also changing the game, asserting herself in what is typically a male-dominated field.
“We are pleased to have Anne at the helm, not only because she is a great composer, but because it’s important to support women composers at this level. Her score for Innocence is melodic, modern and very accessible; I would put it on par with the musical style of Jake Heggie,” Goodburn says.
“She has created clear melodies and themes throughout the opera that people can identify with and lock onto. It’s also in English using the Australian voice which I think helps.”
The dark and difficult themes on which the opera is based are also being approached differently according to Goodburn who assures that Innocence features elements of hope.
“We have included positive elements in the production showing that people can survive and work through these emotions. To this end, it’s more of an exploration that allows people to discuss grief and how they might deal with, or perhaps not deal with it.”
It’s the exploration of these themes that Goodburn believes can help shift focus away from the events and provide people with an opportunity to talk about grief and loss.
“The opera explores the humanity of those left behind rather than the events themselves. In doing so, it gives the audience an opportunity to think about or discuss how people deal with grief. There are various events that happen in the opera and we see how the different characters cope,” he says.
“People tend to treat topics of death and loss as taboo and don’t talk about them openly. That’s perhaps one of our problems as a society and why we often feel things are unresolved. In a way, we want to be part of the healing process.”
A closed workshop for Innocence will take place in July this year with hopes to premiere the opera as part of the 2017 Season.