Opera has a notorious gender problem, with female composers consistently underrepresented in the programs of major opera companies and offered fewer opportunities to create new operas and build a body of work compared to their male counterparts. But Sydney Chamber Opera is bucking the trend, teaming up with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music to present a new bill of one-act operas by Australia’s best emerging female composers.
In Commute, composer Peggy Polias uses the saga of Odysseus to illustrate the danger felt by women walking home at night, while Josephine Macken’s The Tent takes inspiration from the stories of Margaret Atwood. In Georgia Scott’s Her Dark Marauder, Sylvia Plath’s poetry sparks a search for identity, while Bree van Reyk’s The Invisible Bird tells the story of a rare Australian parrot. “The stories these women are telling through this endlessly reinvented art form could not and would not be told anywhere else, by anyone else,” says SCO artistic director Jack Symonds.