olive pink opera september 2020



A preview of Professor Emerita Anne Boyd AM’s new opera on the life of Olive Pink was performed on Thursday 12th September at the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens.

240 people attended the sell-out event, including guests from inter-state and overseas. Julie Marcus, author of The Indomitable Miss Pink, the landmark biography on Olive Pink, travelled from Adelaide to attend. She described the launch and preview as a ‘triumph’!  Indeed ‘triumph’ was the resounding sentiment expressed by both artists, and the audience.

David and Christa Buckley from the Blue Mountains heard opera composer Anne Boyd interviewed by Macca on Australia All Over, and travelled all the way to Alice Springs for the preview. While they were here, they attended all of the Desert Song Festival events. “We were so please we went! The whole Festival was wonderful. The Opera Preview’s music and vocals were beautiful and moving” they said. Other special guests included Ted Egan AO, Nerys Evans, the Honourable Dale Wakefield MLA, Fran Kilgariff AM and Des and Pat Nelson.

Long-time local Lynn Day said “I just thought it was a perfect Alice Springs event and a mix of all the things that make Alice Springs unique: outdoors, perfect weather, Aboriginal culture and about a special woman who made her mark in Central Australia. Then Morris Stuart (Desert Song Festival Director) spoke very movingly at the end”. 

The preview launched the Opera as the signature event of next year’s Desert Song Festival. It included a short performance of some sections of the opera featuring the Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir, Drum Atweme, renowned trombonist Simone De Haan, as well as a symphonic ensemble comprising the NT’s leading classical musicians including some the Arafura Collective.

Ian Coleman, Garden Curator said he couldn’t be happier with the preview and launch. “I too was very moved. The Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir combining with the classical musicians was truly a magical experience. If the Opera itself is anything like its preview, it will be extraordinary”.

The opera is a transformative arts experience bringing together the rich heritages of Aboriginal culture and opera to create a genuinely new version of opera in Australia, and is the second in a planned series of works by Australian composer Anne Boyd AM.

Anne says, “In 21st century Australia, telling such Australian stories with authenticity involves a ‘Two Ways’ process honouring Indigenous insight and creativity”.

Set in the garden itself, the opera draws upon local characters and events told by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community members. “The Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir has an especially significant role as commentators on the dramatic action – rather like a Greek chorus”, Anne says.

Media inquiries: Ian Coleman 0408 274 781

Photo by Emma Murray/Desert Song Festival.

proudly sponsored by the Northern Territory Government