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12:00am 09 Mar 2023
By Don Kay (composer) and John Honey (librettist)
For the renowned Tasmanian composer and former student Don Kay OAM (1950), his bereavement after his beloved wife’s death was profound. From his loss this mini-opera was born – a series of vocal works evoking the ancient phrase memento mori (remember, you will die) with its inescapable, plain truth.
In collaboration with lyricist John Honey, Kay creates a rich musical and theatrical journey through the universal themes of fragility, vulnerability and the certainty of death.
These four works for soprano and baritone give voice to our demise yet also amplify the wondrous contradiction and complexity that, while we remain, life can and must go on. A reflection on ageing, illness, death and loss, Memento Mori reminds us also of the enduring triumph of love, catharsis, renewal, and optimism.
Theatrical staging and evocative projections bring Memento Mori into the realm of mini-opera. In tribute to Don Kay on his 90th birthday, these performances will be realised by three eminent Australian opera artists: baritone Douglas McNicol, soprano Christine Douglas and director Roger Hodgman, with visual design by Michael Bugelli and Joseph Shrimpton.
The performance runs from 9-13 March as part of Ten Days on the Island.