Slide 1

Breaking Glass

SCO is very proud to announce that we will be premiering Breaking Glass as a streamed video this week.

In an exclusive preview for our mailing list and supporters, SCO will host a video of the whole production on this webpage from7.30pm, Friday 24th April.

Even in ideal circumstances, putting on new opera is next to impossible. Towards the end of March, the circumstances the whole country found itself in were about as far from ideal as could be imagined, yet we had a new work on the verge of premiering.

More than two years in the making Breaking Glass is the result of working with four exceptionally talented composers whose voices are essential as opera moves into the third decade of the 21 st century. The stories these women are telling through this endlessly reinvented artform could not and would not be told anywhere else, by anyone else.

SCO was – just – in a position to fully record this production before Carriageworks closed its doors like the rest of the country’s arts institutions. The editing process has been a great challenge to marry audio recordings to video documentation, but we are immensely proud of the result (thanks to Matt McGuigan and Hospital Hill) and, even though it is a shame not to get the opportunity to perform to a live audience, it felt like both an enormous risk and privilege to be making something out of nothing when many around us were losing hope and the world was shutting down.

We hope you can join us for this extraordinary event on Friday.


Quadruple bill of

Her Dark Marauder by Georgia Scott
Commute  by Peggy Polias
The Tent  by Josephine Macken
The Invisible Bird  by Bree van Reyk

world premiere co-presented with Carriageworks

Four women weave new worlds from music.

Women have always starred in opera, but with the contours of their lives scored by men. In Breaking Glass, the brilliant composers Peggy Polias, Josephine Macken, Georgia Scott and Bree van Reyk, seize the stage and share the stories they have always wanted to tell.

In partnership with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s Composing Women Program, SCO presents a quadruple bill of their new one-act operas.

Commute transforms the saga of Odysseus into the prickling unease of a modern woman’s walk home at night. The Tent creates a landscape of pulsating terror from Margaret Atwood’s knife-sharp prose and the tiniest fragments of wounded sound. In Her Dark Marauder, Sylvia Plath’s poetry inspires a woman’s battle for her identity in a spirit-crushing world. The Invisible Bird takes the true story of a rare breed of Australian parrot struggling for survival and renders it a dazzling journey to emancipation.

These world premieres are directed by Clemence Williams and Artistic Associate Danielle Maas, two women determined to smash open an expanse of possibility for operatic storytelling.

Breaking Glass is a new future for opera.

Photography: Daniel Boud

  • Conductor
  • Jack Symonds
  • Directors
  • Danielle Maas & Clemence Williams
  • Set & Costume Design
  • Charles Davis
  • Lighting Design
  • Alexander Berlage
  • AV Design
  • David Bergman
  • Sound Design
  • Ben Carey
  • With
  • Jessica O'Donoghue, Jane Sheldon, Simon Lobelson & Mitchell Riley
  • Ensemble
  • James Wannan (violin/viola), Ben Ward (double bass), Lamorna Nightingale (flute), Jason Noble (clarinet), Alison Pratt (percussion)
  • Writer & Dramaturg
  • Pierce Wilcox
  • Assistant Conductor
  • Huw Belling
  • Production Manager
  • Jason Thelwell
  • Stage Management
  • Ellen Castles, Ayah Tayeh

  • Production Supporters

  • 'The Tent' is proudly supported by & dedicated to
    Penelope Seidler AM

    'Commute' is proudly supported by & dedicated to
    Prof Di Yerbury AO

    Producers: Anonymous (1) · John Barrer · Neil Burns · Martin Dickson AM & Susie Dickson ·
    The Johnson Family Foundation through the Myer Foundation · The Russel Mills Foundation ·
    The Sydney Community Foundation's Women Composers Fund and its associated donors

    Associate Producers: Jim Alexander & Kathir Ponnusamy · Andrew Andersons AO · Gil Appleton · John Kaldor · James Williams
  • Acknowledgements
  • Breaking Glass is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts advisory body, the NSW Government through Create NSW and Creative Partnerships Australia through ACF Boost.

    Composing Women, a postgraduate composition program at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, the University of Sydney, provides professional development aimed at fostering and empowering women composers.
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