A Tasmanian Requiem
An oratorio for voice, brass & percussion
How can we grieve? How can we heal? How can we move forward in the midst of denial?
A Tasmanian Requiem is an ambitious musical and visual conception that faces a past haunted
by the devastating legacy of the Black War of Van Diemen's Land.
This groundbreaking collaboration between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists
acknowledges the impact of frontier conflict, and the strength, beauty and resilience
of Tasmanian Aboriginal culture. In a necessary and redemptive journey,
this Requiem commemorates an irretrievable loss of innocence, and the power of truth and spirit.
Based loosely on the Requiem Mass and performed in English, Latin and Tasmanian Aboriginal languages,
this unique performance experience fuses film, language and live music.
Performed by Tasmania's leading brass ensemble - the Island Brass Quintet -
with an extraordinary classical and contemporary vocal mix, and under the baton of maestro Gary Wain,
A Tasmanian Requiem is at once disturbing and uplifting, a musical gift for a shared future.
WORLD PREMIERE SEASON
THEATRE ROYAL, HOBART
13 - 14 APRIL 2018
Composer: QUIN (HELEN) THOMSON
Writers: GREG LEHMAN, JIM EVERETT-puralia meenamatta & FRANCES BUTLER
Filmakers: JULIE GOUGH & MICHAEL GISSING
Music Director: GARY WAIN
Director: FRANCES BUTLER
Madelena Andersen-Ward (mezzo soprano)
Lotte Betts-Dean (mezzo soprano)
Tom Buckmaster (tenor)
Zoy Frangos (tenor)
Stephen Grant (bass)
Amelia Jones (soprano)
Quin (Helen) Thomson (soprano)
Yoram Levy (trumpet)
Glenn Schultz (trumpet)
Mandy Parsons (French horn)
David Robins (trombone)
Tim Jones (tuba)
Gary Wain (percussion)
Judith Clingan, Annette Downs, Constantine Koukias
Cultural Consultant: Dewayne Everettsmith
Brass Arrangement Consultant: Tim Jones
Digital Technology: Alive Technologies
Film Editor: Michael Gissing
Graphic Design: Heike Schmidt, Raum Studio
Lighting Design: Aron Webb
Production Assistant: Cassandra Wunsch
Sound Design: Greg Gurr
Still Photography: Alastair Bett, Frances Butler, Michael Gissing, Julie Gough
Tintype Photography: Phillip England, Tasmanian Tintype
Additional Footage: Pawel Achtel, Dan Broun, Chris Fox, Troy Melville,
Raef Sawford, Tom Waugh
Additional Musicians: Madeleine Dyer, Melfred Lijauco, Tom Misson, Maraika Smit
Image by Greg Lehman
Image by Julie Gough
A Tasmanian Requiem acknowledges the pain of two cultures torn hideously apart
and then dares to weave threads of compassion between them.
The tragedy and
complexity are magnificently expressed in this inspired collaborative work of genius.
Not only does it force us to remember, but it educates those of us who cannot remember what
has been kept silent, the stories that have been buried rather than taught to our children. This work is dark and monumental.
In A Tasmanian Requiem, this
state has found a true masterpiece.
has moved on
from a past where some people denied that Aboriginal people still exist,
the fact there was
is rarely discussed.
A Tasmanian Requiem could hardly have been better timed ... (it) has much to offer to this conversation. It shows what a historical reckoning, and reconciliation, could look - and sound - like.
Kristyn Harman & Carolyn Philpott
Sung in haunting layers ... to a backdrop of eclectic and emotive footage of Tasmania and many things Tasmanian, A Tasmanian Requiem is a story of epic proportions.
"A truly amazing experience on so many levels. Thanks to everyone involved. I feel so privileged! I hope there are many more performances ahead so many more can experience this beautiful work."
"Thank you for an outstanding, haunting, sublime experience. At times dissonant and unsettling and then moments of hair raising beauty and fragility. Particularly loved the palawa voices and the earth voice. An important part of the Tasmanian theatrical/musical canon. Congratulations all, your standing ovation was well deserved."
"Words fail me. Stupendous will have to suffice. We want to see it again."
"A Tasmanian Requiem is a masterpiece, powerful and poignant, it should be performed all over Australia (and beyond) It has universal significance and could be seen as Requiem for the Planet as well. The performers were staggeringly good and the images of the land and loss made me weep. I was exhausted by the end and surely the performers must have been too. I will never forget A Tasmanian Requiem, thank you!"
"Warm congratulations .. for bringing such an ambitious and important work to fruition. The elements, particularly the musical performances, were extremely impressive, as were the staging and presentation. Such a huge amount of effort and dedication from so many skilled contributors to make it happen. A really courageous and significant achievement, of which you should be very proud."
"I love how the choice of music style allowed so many layers of sound, which made me think of so many layers in our shared story, and how the vision grounded me in that. And I loved the moments where one voice would call and be responded to by others. And I loved the moments where the music ended its tumult leaving only the voice to carry on. Most of all I appreciate how this made me cry at the beginning but move to feeling hopeful by the end of the performance. Can't ask for much more than that. What a special thing to create. Thank you to everyone who made this happen."
"What an extraordinary and courageous work."
"I was not alone in singing the production’s praises. Huge congratulations to you and all your collaborators including the musicians on the night and the cinematographer. Just stunning. I hope this sees further seasons not only in this state. It deserves to."
"Blown away. I was in tears at least three times, and on the edge of my seat for most of the rest. Wonderful, moving, elegaic, heart and gut wrenching, and a keening song of the spirit. I can only thank you."
John & Don
"Thank you for bringing us risky new Tasmanian work – it is a great thing to help stories that are made here, be told and shared here…"
"I am blown away by A Tasmanian Requiem. It is an extraordinary work and was performed so exquisitely that I am thinking about it constantly the morning after seeing it. Congratulations for producing a work that is groundbreaking and incredibly beautiful. Also, congratulations to the ensemble for giving a nuanced, intense and moving performance of the requiem. It is a concert I will always remember."
"Congratulations to all involved (past and present) in delivering the incredibly powerful A Tasmanian Requiem. A beautiful voice to come out of Tasmania very much embedded in the people and land of today. Let's hope people listen."
"A brilliant, powerful and intense production. Powerful imagery and fabulous music! It MUST go national!"
"Saw the world premiere of this last night .. they really have pulled off something very special in what appears to be true collaborative work. Every performer/contributor you spoke to promptly said, 'well, it was a group effort' or 'so-and-so's bit was so amazing'. Last night I spoke to participants across 2/3rds of the genres/tech roles involved, and this was a very striking and immediate response, which I've not seen so comprehensively demonstrated in most post-show debriefs."