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One Night Only – 17 September 2021


After 30 years in the wilderness, the great Australian opera Voss is back on stage, and in the town that first gave it an audience.

State Opera South Australia will present the acclaimed opera by Richard Meale and David Malouf as a spectacular staged concert in September 2021 at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide as part of its Lost Operas of Oz series. The revival of this much-loved work based on Patrick White’s novel of the same name is a passion project between the Artistic Directors of State Opera and Victorian Opera and has been many years in the making.

Based on the life of explorer Ludwig Leichhardt, who disappeared whilst on an expedition in outback Australia around 1845, Voss was the sensation of Adelaide Festival of Arts when it premiered in 1986.

On the surface, Voss is a tale of one man versus nature and his own nature. What lies beneath is an exquisite and moving exploration of the Outsider; a man who desperately seeks an elusive personal connection, and identity within society. Ultimately it is a love story between two human beings that transcends time and place.

Stuart Maunder, State Opera’s Artistic Director who will direct Voss says: “The presentation of Voss is a long-anticipated thrill. I’ve loved the novel since I studied it in high school (who didn’t?) and the opera since I ‘learned it by osmosis’ when my then-wife sang in the original cast. I stood for it on the Opening Night here in Adelaide in 1986, and I’ve tried to programme a revival since that time. Finally, in collaboration with Victorian Opera, and their visionary Artistic Director Richard Mills I can now bring that dream to Adelaide in 2021.”

He goes on to say: “This is a great work; one of the most tuneful, accessible, grand and romantic scores ever to be composed in Australia. It is epic, admirable, thrilling, lush; grand opera at its most intimate, speaking as it does of man’s constant struggle with the land, the infinite, the self. An opera defiantly of our time and place. “

Meale’s epic score will brought to life for the first time in 30 years by an acclaimed all-Australian cast, led by Samuel Dundas as Voss and Emma Pearson as Laura, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, and State Opera Chorus under the baton of Richard Mills. One night only.