- Event Start
- 3rd Jul 2014 at 7:30pm
- Event End
- 30th Nov -0001 at 12:00am
- Event Location
- Her Majesty's Theatre, Adelaide
Short Black Opera Company is proud to present the 4th season of Pecan Summer, Australia’s first Indigenous opera, written and directed by Yorta Yorta soprano, Deborah Cheetham.
Pecan Summer is described by its creator and composer, Deborah Cheetham AO, as “an opera for the 21st century, a contemporary opera for Indigenous Australians, a story for all Australians.”
The story of the opera is based on the events of the 1939 Cummeragunja walk-off. On February 3rd, 1939, hundreds of Yorta Yorta chose to leave their homes with the few possessions they could carry in protest at harsh conditions and treatment by the mission’s manager. Many opted to start new lives over the border in Victoria, so as to escape the restrictive authority imposed at the Cummeragunja mission, which is located on the banks of the Murray River in New South Wales.
It was a remarkable political action and the first of its kind initiated by Aboriginal people. The Walk-off set in motion a new phase in black-white relations and spurred a more vigorous and organised form of Aboriginal political activism across Australia in the decades to come.
Deborah Cheetham AO began writing the opera in 2007, when she was awarded a two-year Fellowship from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. This fellowship led to the creation of Pecan Summer, which premiered on country in Mooroopna in 2010. The success of Pecan Summer has led to the creation of Short Black Opera Company, a national not-for-profit opera company devoted to the development of Indigenous opera singers. In 2011, Short Black Opera presented a season of Pecan Summer at the Arts Centre, Melbourne and in 2012 the company toured to Perth to present a season at the State Theatre Centre of WA.
In September 2011, Deborah was appointed as Associate Dean of Indigenous Studies and Head of the Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts at the Faculty of the VCA and MCM, University of Melbourne.
“This is a milestone in Australian opera. It should be widely seen both here and overseas… It tells an important story, which has relevance to all Australians, and anywhere where there are minority communities who have suffered at the hands of an oppressive majority.” - Sandra Bowdler, Opera Britannia, 2012