Australia’s first Indigenous opera, Pecan Summer, is coming to Adelaide for the first time from Thursday, July 3 to Saturday, July 5.
Short Black Opera’s highly celebrated production, composed by Yorta Yorta soprano Deborah Cheetham, will be showing at Her Majesty’s Theatre. The show will feature some of Australia’s newest Indigenous opera stars, as well as some of Australia’s most renowned singers including Jonathon Welch (Choir of Hard Knocks), Rosamund Illing (Opera Australia) and Cheetham herself. “Pecan Summer is an opera for the 21st century, a contemporary opera for Indigenous Australians, a story for all Australians,” Cheetham said in a press release. The story is about the history-making 1939 walk-off from Cummeragunja Mission, when 200 people of the Yorta Yorta nation left their home in protest of the harsh and inhumane conditions inflicted upon them. “Sixty thousand years of Yorta Yorta history. 70 years of dispossession. The summer of 1939 will change the lives of the people of Cummeragunja forever. Alice is nine years old. Her family is her entire world. Alice’s world is about to be torn apart.” Cheetham, niece of music legend Jimmy Little, was awarded a Fellowship from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander board of the Australia Council in 2007, which supported the creation of Pecan Summer. Pecan Summer’s success led to the creation of Short Black Opera, a national not-for-profit opera company, which is devoted to the development of Aboriginal opera singers. After Pecan Summer’s 2010 premiere season in Mooroopna, Victoria, Short Black Opera presented seasons in Melbourne in 2011 and Perth in 2012. Pecan Summer Her Majesty’s Theatre Thursday, July 3 to Saturday, July 5 Tickets on sale now at: bass.net.au/events/pecan-summer Photos: Robert Jefferson and Jorge de Araujo