The Sydney Opera House has unveiled the latest instalment of live music, First Nations cabaret, contemporary dance and digital performance works-in-development as part of its biannual UnWrapped season of diverse, rarely seen and critically acclaimed work.
Launched in 2018, UnWrapped includes contemporary performance work across dance, music, live art and theatre, and is part of the Opera House’s broader engagement with independent Australian artists and small-to-medium companies creating new, risk-taking work.
Sydney Opera House Director of Programming Fiona Winning says, “We’re thrilled to present these diverse and beautifully crafted works from some of Australia’s independent and boundary-pushing performance-makers and musicians as part of this May’s UnWrapped program. From Project Masnavi’s evocative melodies fusing traditional Iranian music with jazz, to the triple threat Steven Oliver’s critically acclaimed cabaret Bigger & Blacker, choreographer and dancer Angela Goh’s collaboration with composer Corin Ileto, this program promises short, sharp and provocative work by Australian artists.”
The UnWrapped series for May 2021 will feature:
Project Masnavi (Studio, 14 – 15 May)
Conceived and led by acclaimed Iranian-Australian tar player and composer Hamed Sadeghi (who featured in the sold out UnWrapped Vazesh concerts, December 2020), Project Masnavi is a world premiere performance drawing on contemporary and classical music traditions of both East and West. Fusing traditional Iranian music with jazz, Project Masnavi responds to the writings of the revered 13th century Persian poet Rumi. The project features evocative composition and unique instrumentation, including tar, saxophone, accordion, double bass and drums performed by the internationally acclaimed Eishan Ensemble quintet.
Bigger & Blacker (Studio 19 – 22 May)
Steven Oliver from ABC’s hit television series Black Comedy brings his critically acclaimed cabaret Bigger & Blacker to the Studio fresh from La Boite Theatre. Weaving comedy and contemplation though stories of love and loss, Oliver mines his own life to reflect on fame, friendship and the power of music. A seasoned performer, Oliver is also a talented songwriter whose original score runs from perky pop to urban rap to lilting lullabies. Throw in a disco ball, dance breaks and spicy banter between Oliver and his on-stage companion, musician Michael Griffiths, for a guaranteed fun night out.
Sky Blue Mythic (Studio, 26 – 29 May)
Reality has always been augmented – by the limits of our human perception. A New Work Now commission, Sky Blue Mythic expands upon choreographer and dancer Angela Goh’s 2020 Keir Choreographic Award-winning work of the same name. Sky Blue Mythic stands at a threshold of cascading horizons. An avatar is adrift in an unknowable but familiar setting, where worlds loom, times loop, gestures distil and meanings distort. An interface of flesh searching for new ways of being, Sky Blue Mythic sees the body alienated, and the alien embodied. An ethereal thriller that highlights the presence and absence between worlds, Sky Blue Mythic is a recalibration of the ways we know dance, the body, and time. Sky Blue Mythic is performed solo with live sound composition by Melbourne artist Corin Ileto.
Runa Cara (Utzon Room, 28 May)
Irish-Australian percussionist and singer-songwriter Bonnie Stewart (aka. Bonniesongs) and Danish- Australian cellist and nyckelharpist Freya Schack-Arnott (also part of Ensemble Offspring) collaborate as Runa Cara, performing ethereal folk songs set to strings, percussion, harmonies and loops. Since meeting at an intensive workshop in Tasmania, they’ve been mixing Stewart’s angelic and new edge folk-pop with a wide range of dramatic cello techniques. They can be heard on Stewart’s live EP Strings release along with violist Sascha Bota, and their collaboration is most recently featured on Stewart’s Energetic Mind album.
Outlines (Studio and Utzon Room, 30 May)
From creative AI and generative story engines to motion-capture music performance, Outlines brings leading technologists together with boundary-pushing artists to rethink the future of performance. Designed to connect physical and digital worlds, Outlines will feature artists embracing and disrupting digital platforms and technology to deliver new forms of live performance. Outlines Part I – R+J RMX features a group of performers as they remix Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with a revolutionary artificial intelligence, built for game engines and Hollywood. Omelia technology will create, in real-time, an immersive, multimedia experience that captures the human condition in the coming age of hyper-intelligence. In Outlines Part II – Apotheosis, 4D visual art, motion-capture and electronic music fuse together in a new hybrid commission that remodels live contemporary dance, by Serwah Attafuah and SOFT CENTRE, featuring Ptwiggs and Lydia Kivela.
Tickets for the May 2021 season of UnWrapped at the Sydney Opera House are now on sale. For more information, visit www.sydneyoperahouse.com/events/whats-on/unwrapped/2021/rj-rmx.html.