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Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

“There’s A Time For Sowing And There’s A Time For Reaping.”

Her Majesty's Theatre

14 Nov - 20 Nov 2020

The opera was commissioned by the Victoria State Opera and premiered in 1996. Opera Australia subsequently presented the work in 1999.

In light of the COVID-19 restrictions for South Australia that come into effect at midnight 16 November 2020, State Opera wishes to advise that the performances of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll on 18 & 20 November are cancelled.

State Opera is in regular consultation with SA Government and key stakeholders in regards to COVID-19.
Safety of our patrons and artists remains paramount.
Any further changes to the scheduled performances for State Opera in 2020 will be made as far in advance as possible. We appreciate your continued patience and support during this time.

Based on Ray Lawler’s 1955 Australian play of the same name, this chamber opera tells the story of a long-standing tradition at the end of the sugarcane season, in which cane-cutters Barney and Roo travel south to Melbourne for their annual fling with two city girls. But this year, the seventeenth year, is different. Gone are the larrikin summers of their youth. Instead, their reunion is full of tension, silence, and awkward attempts to hold onto their past. One girl has married; all of them struggle to come to terms with what their futures hold.

Lawler’s play is considered to be the most significant in Australian playwriting, marking the first time the authentic Australian voice was depicted on stage. So too does Mills and Goldsworthy’s opera express, at its heart, something heroic, fragile, and utterly moving.


"In this new production, directed by Joseph Mitchell and conducted by its composer Richard Mills, the opera has finally found its place and worth."

Limelight Brett Allen-Bayes

"This production would break even a deaf person’s heart."

The Advertiser Ewart Shaw

"With this production, 'Summer of the Seventeenth Doll' has truly come of age."

The Australian Graham Strahle

Richard Mills AM
Joseph Mitchell
Simone Romaniuk
Trudy Dalgleish