Carriageworks presents earth.voice.body, a triple bill of solo works by Sydney Chamber Opera 14 Aug 2023

Carriageworks, one of Australia’s most significant contemporary multi-arts organisations, will present earth.voice.body from 28 September to 7 October 2023, a new triple bill of solo works by resident company Sydney Chamber Opera. Featuring a new Australian work, a radical interpretation of a 20th century classic, and a major work by a leading 21st century international composer, the program is designed as a reflection of Sydney Chamber Opera’s major musical and dramatic achievements.

Lauded for the focus, originality and ingenuity of their solo works, audiences are invited to experience Sydney Chamber Opera’s aesthetic mission in a single evening through three interlinking monodramas. The Shape of the Earth, based on Australian writer Patrick White’s seminal novel Voss, leads the program. Composed by Artistic Director Jack Symonds and Pierce Wilcox, the work will be directed by the company’s acclaimed frequent collaborator Alexander Berlage (Resonant Bodies Festival, Future Remains) and performed by Paris-based vocalist Mitchell Riley. One of Sydney Chamber Opera’s first ever performers, Riley has grown with the company into an internationally acclaimed performer of great physical and vocal dexterity, working across opera, theatre, clowning, and puppetry.

The second solo work is La voix humaine by French composer Francis Poulenc based on the play of the same name by Jean Cocteau. Directed by award-winning director, composer, and sound designer Clemence Williams (Breaking Glass), the work will be performed by Australian soprano Celeste Lazarenko. In this major 20th century monodrama, a woman relives a heartbreaking relationship on the phone to her ex-lover, in a perfectly-pitched unfolding of heightened realism. Often performed, yet rarely interrogated, Sydney Chamber Opera is set to offer a fresh new perspective on this much-loved classic.

Completing the program is Quatre instants by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, with a libretto in French by Amin Maalouf. A song cycle in four movements, each song reflects the various dimensions of love that makes up a torrid romantic relationship: longing, desire, pain and consummation. A tour-de-force by one of the greatest composers of recent times, Saariaho’s post-Spectral masterpiece will be performed by Australian mezzo-soprano Emily Edmonds, whose dramatic vocal lines will be brought to life by a glittering piano accompaniment. Creating a world-first staging of the work is again Clemence Williams, who will draw it into the world of La voix humaine, linking French music of past and present.

Artistic Director of Sydney Chamber Opera Jack Symonds said: “earth.voice.body is an exciting reflection of our ongoing interrogation of operatic form that our audiences have come to expect, with each work looking at loss in one form or another. This is a triple bill of works no other company in Australia can or would create, offering innovative new perspectives on the form of solo performance and featuring some of Australia’s most outstanding performers.”

Carriageworks CEO Fergus Linehan said: “Carriageworks is proud to present Sydney Chamber Opera’s highly anticipated triple bill program. For anyone yet to experience the boundary-pushing work of Sydney Chamber Opera, this new performance is the perfect introduction to the musical rigour and vibrant programming that make them one of Australia’s most compelling contemporary opera companies.”

Sydney Chamber Opera
28 September – 7 October 2023
Carriageworks, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh NSW 2015

For media interviews please contact Isabel Wright,, 0400 359 485 or Jasmine Hersee,, 0451 087 196.


Resident company at Carriageworks, Sydney Chamber Opera, is a fresh and youthful answer to some of the difficult questions facing today’s opera industry. Louis Garrick and Jack Symonds established SCO in 2010 and it has rapidly developed into an important and distinctive voice in the Australian music and theatre landscapes. SCO is critically acclaimed for its innovative programming, musical rigour and strong focus on compelling theatre-making. SCO makes opera with a 21st-century outlook that resonates with a new, younger audience, and that shows how vibrant and relevant the artform can be. Their program aims for a balance of specially commissioned work by leading homegrown composers, the latest international operas in their Australian premieres, song cycles and cantatas in unusual stagings, and canonical repertoire reinvigorated by the country’s most daring theatrical talent.

ABOUT CARRIAGEWORKS: Carriageworks is one of Australia’s most renowned and significant contemporary multi-arts organisations. The Carriageworks Artistic and First Nations Programs provide significant support to Australian and international artists through commissioning and presenting contemporary work. Reflecting the diverse communities of urban Sydney, these programs are ambitious and inclusive.; Instagram @Carriageworks; Facebook; Twitter @Carriageworks.