May 1787 , and the First Fleet is ready to sail from England. Richard Morgan’s safe and respectable middle-class existence is shattered. He may as well be crossing into Hades as he endures the ocean journey to the colony of New South Wales.
Colleen McCullough’s tale of Richard Morgan in her novel “Morgan’s Run“, has been transformed into a musical.by composer Gavin Lockley, with the libretto by the author herself. As he journeys into the unknown, Morgan discovers not only new depths of physical suffering and mental anguish, but also new powers of endurance and strength of character and feeling.
As the First Fleet was setting sail, across the channel in Europe, Mozart was composing his opera “Don Giovanni”. Lockley used this classical aesthetic to inspire the score , which he says is “a pastiche – a musical with a classical aesthetic”. The cast of 32 will be joined by band that includes a small classical orchestra, a harpsichord, and…wait for it…a rock drum kit.
To absorb the spirit of Richard Morgan, Lockley spent most of 2010 with Colleen McCullough on Norfolk Island, home to the penal colony to which Morgan was dispatched. Lockley’s previous works The Symphony of Australia and Ballads of the Bush have sought to express the history and essence of the nation and create a distinctive national musical heritage. Whilst Ballads of the Bush sets popular Australian verse to music, and the Symphony of Australia celebrates a nation, Morgan’s Run is a narrative about the founding of a nation and its character.
“Morgan’s Run” is on at the Springwood Civic Centre, Springwood. There are 8 performances at 2 pm and 8 pm over three weekends, Saturdays and Sundays May 21st and 22nd, May 28th, 29th, June 4th and 5th.