Sometimes, opera can be a little elitist – but local writer and historian Richard Cotter and Rye opera singer and conductor Antony Ransome have written an opera on a local theme and sure to appeal to audiences of all demographics: the experiences of convict William Buckley in the Collins Settlement at Sorrento in 1803, his escape and his subsequent reception into an Indigenous group across Port Phillip.
Originally, Antony wanted to perform the opera at the Settlement itself, but the logistics proved too complex, so he will conduct performances in early May 2019 at the Memorial Hall in Rosebud.
The team have secured a stage director and a leading baritone for the role of Buckley, along with a First Nations soprano for the role of Purran-Murnin, Buckley’s wife in the Wathaurong group he stayed with for 32 years. That soprano, Shauntai Batzke, will sing at a Special Launch on 15 April of this year to raise awareness about this fascinating true story and Richard Cotter will talk about the historical background.
This local project needs your help and financial contributions with tax deductibility can be made on the website australianculturalfund.org.au (Google ‘The Buckley opera’).
The organisers – Astral Theatre Society Rosebud and the work’s composer Antony Ransome – are looking for anyone prepared to participate in this project, as a singer or backstage. Contact Antony on 0403 216 410 or firstname.lastname@example.org
RPPFM – Your Voice on the Peninsula 98.3FM & 98.7FM Frankston Livestream www.rppfm.com.au and download the app and never miss a show
Words: Honi McNaughton
Pics: Antony Ransome assistant: An initial rehearsal at RPP FM’s studio 3 by a local wind ensemble participating in a Peninsula community music project – an opera about the Collins Settlement of 1803 and the life of the convict William Buckley.