Slide 1

poem for a dried up river

by Jane Sheldon

Presented by Sydney Festival

View the program here

Australian premiere

Struggle, exertion – where does it first show up in the body? In the breath. And that’s how Jane Sheldon’sĀ poem for a dried up riverĀ begins: in summer darkness with the sounds of breathing floating over chirping cicadas. Gradually two sopranos emerge from the soundscape, their labour divided – instrument and words.

This riveting performance melds opera, poetry, physical theatre and art installation in a mesmerising, unique combination. Alice Oswald’s text about a figurine of a naiad trying to coax water from a bed of limestone ‘unfolds like a cry of environmental despair’. Sheldon’s exquisite palette of musical colours plays on contrasts: dry and wet, weak and strong, barren and fecund. Elizabeth Gadsby’s powerful installation mirrors the nymph’s exertions with the unrolling of a 200kg path of clay.

Jane Sheldon reunites with Sydney Chamber Opera for another collaboration filled with detail and nuance, and a profound sense of connection.

Photography: Gretchen Robinette

  • Singers
  • Jane Sheldon & Anna Fraser
  • Installation & Design
  • Elizabeth Gadsby
  • Music Direction
  • Jack Symonds
  • Lighting Design
  • Alexander Berlage
  • Sound Design
  • Benjamin Carey
  • Choreography
  • Danielle Micich
  • Date & Time
  • 6pm Wed 6, Thu 7, Fri 8 Jan; 3pm Sat 9, Sun 10 Jan
  • Venue
  • Carriageworks Bay 20, 245 Wilson St Eveleigh
  • Duration
  • 35 minutes
  • Tickets
  • $35-$39 Available here
  • Acknowledgements
  • This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body and the NSW Government through Create NSW.
  • E-list