Composer Gavin Lockley is passionate about the music of the Australian bush. In a landscape that is as severe as it is beautiful, survival is key, so it’s fitting that Lockley’s work My Country Australia is being performed this week to celebrate the 85th anniversary of Australia’s iconic Royal Flying Doctor Service.
My Country Australia is the third in a series of musical settings of the words of the great Australian poets and follows the success in 2009 of Lockley’s, Ballads of the Bush and Symphony of Australia which had its world premiere at the Sydney Opera House in 2007.
Lockley has selected poems he has loved since childhood and set them to music, reflecting his belief that the great Australian poets and balladeers should be lifted off the page and performed to as wide an audience as possible in order to preserve our cultural history. As Lockley says “In the tradition of Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn and Berlioz’s Les Nuits D’ete these orchestral songs express the colour and excitement of the great stories that shaped the Australian folk consciousness.”
Lockley’s music celebrates what it means to be Australian as he brings to life with music, some of the nation’s favourite poets – amongst them, Dorothea Mackellar, Banjo Paterson, C.J. Dennis and Henry Lawson. In the programme are Clancy of the Overflow, The Convict’s Ballad – a set of verses inspired by the story of Richard Morgan, Mulga Bill’s Bicycle; The Man From Ironbark; Banjo Paterson’s A Singer of the Bush, Cuthbertson’s The Australian Sunrise and Jon English and orchestra performing Waltzing Matilda.
Performing alongside Jon English are Renae Martin, Barry Ryan, Glenn Cunningham, Darryl Lovegrove, Jennifer Murphy, Michael Halliwell and Tina Harris, with host Stuart Maunder and Vladimir Fanshil conducting a 60 piece orchestra and a 200 strong choir.
My Country Australia is staged in partnership with Sydney Festival.
Tickets: Premium $119.00 | Conc $109;
A Reserve $99.00 | Conc $89;
B Reserve $79.00 | Conc. $69
Bookings: sydneyoperahouse.com or 02 9250 7777