Fly Away Peter



Elliott Gyger was born in Sydney, and holds degrees in composition from the University of Sydney and Harvard University.  His composition teachers have included Ross Edwards, Peter Sculthorpe, Bernard Rands and Mario Davidovsky.  His compositional interests include the creation of a purely musical sense of drama and narrative, and the multilayered interplay of music and text.  His music has been played by many of Australia’s major performing groups, including the Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, as well as North American ensembles such as the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Columbia Sinfonietta, Collage, and the Emerson, Mendelssohn and Ying Quartets.

Recent works include the celesta concerto Angels and Insects (2010); an hour-long solo piano work inspired by Dante, Inferno (2013), for Michael Kieran Harvey; and a tenor saxophone concerto entitled Smoke and Mirrors (2014), premiered in December 2014 by soloist Joshua Hyde with the Thailand Philharmonic Orchestra.  His “dialogue for orchestra” on air (2011) was awarded the Sydney Symphony 80th Anniversary Composition Prize, receiving its first performances with the SSO under Vladimir Ashkenazy in March 2012.  giving voice (2012), for mezzo-soprano and five instruments, won the 2013 Paul Lowin Song Cycle Award, and was premiered by Jenny Duck-Chong with Halcyon in July 2014.

Elliott is also active as a conductor, teacher and writer on new music.  He was Assistant Professor of Music at Harvard from 2002 to 2007, and has taught at the University of Melbourne since 2008, where he is currently Senior Lecturer in Composition.  He has been a tutor for young composer development programs with Halcyon, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and National Music Camp.  He has written extensively on Australian composer Nigel Butterley, including a book on his music published by Wildbird Press in April 2015.


PIERCE WILCOX – Librettist


Pierce Wilcox studied English Literature at the University of Sydney before completing the Graduate Diploma of Dramatic Art (Directing) at NIDA. Directing credits include My Name Is Truda Vitz (TAP Gallery), Caligula (NIDA) and Hippolytos Raised (Seymour Centre).

He has worked as a script assessor for Griffin, Playwriting Australia and Sydney Theatre Company, and undertaken a literary internship with Belvoir. Production dramaturgy includes Hinterland and Choreography for NIDA and The Westlandsat Parramatta Riverside.

Pierce was the 2013 Affiliate Director at Griffin Theatre Company, where he recently co-wrote and directed a digital narrative project for Griffin and Google’s Creative Lab. He founded the performance ensemble Sekrit Projekt, who recently toured their new work Only You Can Save Us from a debut season at Sydney’s 107 Projects to Perth’s Fringe World and the Adelaide Fringe Festival.

For Sydney Chamber Opera, Pierce assistant directed Owen Wingrave and His Music Burns, and wrote the libretto for SCO’s inaugural production Notes from Underground.


JACK SYMONDS – Conductor


Jack Symonds is a composer, conductor and accompanist, and Artistic Director of Sydney Chamber Opera. He studied composition at the Royal College of Music, London under Kenneth Hesketh and at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he received the University Medal. For SCO he has conducted Britten’s Owen Wingrave, Maxwell Davies’s The Lighthouse, Kancheli’s Exil, Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill and Kurtág’s… pas à pas- nulle part…  for the 2014 Sydney Festival the world premiere of Smetanin’s Mayakovsky, as well as his own stage works Climbing Toward Midnight and Notes from Underground.

He has written works for New York’s JACK Quartet, cellist Timo-Veikko Valve, soprano Jane Sheldon, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Australian Piano Quartet, Streeton Trio, the Composers’ Ensemble and many other ensembles and soloists.




Imara is a directing graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art.

Her directing credits include Machinal and After Dinner for Sydney Theatre Company. The Comedy of Errors for Bell Shakespeare, Owen Wingrave, and In the Penal Colony for Sydney Chamber Opera; The Brothers Size for Griffin Independent; Orphans for Red Stitch; Fool For Love for Belvoir B-Sharp; and WoyzeckPunk Rock and This Property Is Condemned for NIDA. Her assistant directing credits include Fury, Pygmalion, Like a Fishbone, The Mysteries: Genesis and The Wonderful World of Dissocia for Sydney Theatre Company; Julius Caesar and Much Ado About Nothing for Bell Shakespeare; and La Sonnambula for Opera Australia.

Imara was the 2010 Affiliate Director at Griffin Theatre Company, the 2011 Director in Residence at Bell Shakespeare and the 2012 Richard Wherrett Fellow at Sydney Theatre Company. Imara has also worked in Sri Lanka as a writer with the Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development and has been involved with other Human Rights organisations including working as a facilitator for the Oxfam International Youth Parliament & the Amnesty Youth Drama Festival.


ELIZABETH GADSBY – Set and Costume Design


Elizabeth is a designer with a background in installation and performance art. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Painting) from NAS and a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts (Design) from NIDA.

She has undertaken international artist in residence positions at ‘ArtLab San Servolo’‘Galerie der Kunst’ and took part in ‘Underbelly 2007, 2008’ at Carriageworks.

Her theatre design credits include ‘Faust: part one’ ‘Cloud 9′; and the musical ‘Woyzeck’ all produced at NIDA. Since graduating from NIDA she has designed set and costume for ‘Bach Coffee Cake’ with the Little Baroque Co for London Handel Festival 2013 and Brighton Early Music Festival 2014; ‘Much Ado about Nothing’ for Sport for Jove Shakespeare Festival; ‘Epic Fail’ for Perth International Arts festival and W.A Ballet; ‘Ecobots’ and ‘Plain Jane’ for Buzz Dance Theatre and Awesome Festival; ‘The Old Maid and the Thief’ and ‘The Impressario’ at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music; Costume design for ‘The Boat People’ by co-produced by the Hayloft Project and Rock Surfers; ‘Cinderella’ for Belvoir St Theatre; ‘Cut’ for Adelaide Fringe 2015; ‘Orfeo ed Erudice’ for Spectrum Now Festival; ‘Fly Away Peter’ and ‘An Index of Metals’ for Sydney Chamber Opera; and ‘The Bernstein Mass’ for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music’s Centenary.

Her production design credits for short film and music video include ‘Jack Off’ directed by Max Doyle; ‘ Alone’ for Sydney band ‘Songs’; ‘Pan’ for Triple J unearthed artist ‘Taxidermy Hall’. She has designed interactive spaces for events such as ‘The Night Odditorium’ Peats Ridge Music Festival; and ‘Expo NIDA 2012’.

Associate and assistant design credits include; associate costume designer ‘Jasper Jones’ by Barking Gecko Theatre Company; assistant designer ‘Switzerland’, ‘Macbeth’, ‘Rozencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead’, for Sydney Theatre Company and animation artist and intern for the Brisbane Festival production of ‘Freeze Frame’.

She is a current recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts ‘Art Start’ Grant, the William Fletcher Scholarship in 2013.


VERITY HAMPSON – Lighting Design


Verity is a NIDA graduate with over 10 years experience as a lighting and projection designer. Verity has designed for over 90 theatre productions working with some of Australia’s most talented directors and choreographers. For television Verity has been a lighting director for the ABC’s Live at the Basement and The Roast. Verity was awarded the Mike Walsh Fellowship in 2012 which took her to Broadway to work with projection designers 59 Productions. Verity was also the winner of the 2013 Sydney theatre award for the best mainstage lighting design for her work on Machinal at the Sydney Theatre Company.

You can find out more about Verity and her past work by visiting


LUCAS JERVIES – Movement Director


Lucas Jervies has created dance and/or theatre work for Sydney Dance Company, Opera Australia, Griffin Theatre Company, Malthouse Theatre, Louisville Ballet, Hèrmes, Buzz Dance Theatre, West Australian Ballet, Sydney Dance Company Pre Professional Year, Queensland Ballet, The Australian Ballet, Expressions Dance Company, Scapino Ballet Rotterdam, JACK Productions, Korzo Theatre Den Haag, Milwaukee Ballet, Noverre Society Stuttgart Ballet, CoDarts Rotterdam University for the Arts and The Australian Ballet School.

Lucas studied dance at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School and The Australian Ballet School where he graduated with Honours in 1998. He then danced professionally in both classical and contemporary dance companies including The Australian Ballet, Dance Works Rotterdam and Scapino Ballet Rotterdam. Lucas retired from dance in 2010 and co-founded JACK Productions in Melbourne, which presented three ballet-theatre productions over two years.

In 2012 Lucas was one of six artists accepted into The National Institute of Dramatic Art to study Directing. Following his graduation, Lucas was invited to become an Affiliate Director with Griffin Theatre Company. In October 2013 he was appointed Artistic Director of Buzz Dance Theatre, Australia’s premier dance theatre company for children and young people 1986-2015, to create a final season for the company. In August 2014 Lucas joined Sydney Dance Company as interim Rehearsal Director and from January 2015 is a Sydney based freelance artist.




With Sydney Chamber Opera, Mitch has given the Australian premiere of György Kurtág’s …pas à pas – nulle part… in a staging for the 2014 Sydney Festival, performed the role of Blazes/Officer 2 in The Lighthouse by Peter Maxwell Davies (2012), premiered lead roles in stage works by Australian composers Michael Smetanin (Mayakovsky – 2014, subsequently broadcast on ABC Classic FM) and Jack Symonds (Climbing Toward Midnight – 2013, Nunc dimittis – 2011, Notes from Underground – 2011) and performed at the 18th Biennale of Sydney in Through The Gates (2012), a semi-staged song cycle that took place amid the installations of Belgian artist Honoré δ’O.

In 2014, Mitch performed a number of Mediaeval and Renaissance programs with The Renaissance Players. Since 2011, Mitch has regularly performed in the chorus of Opera Australia. He has a Bachelor of Music from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.


BRENTON SPITERI – Ashley Crowther / Soldiers


Brenton Spiteri is a graduate of the University of Melbourne, from which he holds a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Music Performance with Honours. He was the winner of the 2012 Herald Sun Aria and placed second in the 2014 Mietta Song Competition. In 2015, he takes up a young artist position at National Opéra de Lyon, France.

In Australia, he has been a principal artist with Victorian Opera, Sydney Chamber Opera, Melbourne Opera, the Melbourne Festival and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, with roles including Nadir, les Pêcheurs de Perles; Jaquino, Fidelio; Harlekin, Der Kaiser von Atlantis; Magician, Snow Queen; Herr. Vogelsang, Der Schauspieldirektor; and Jack, Into the Woods. He has premiered principal roles in new Australian works including David Chisholm’s Kursk and Michael Smetanin’s Mayakovsky.

Concert repertoire includes the complete Songs of Travel (Vaughan Williams), Songs of the Chinese and English Folksong Settings (Britten), Lucas in The Seasons (Haydn), and the tenor solos in mass settings of Mozart, Schubert and Dvořák, among others. He has been a regular guest performer for Melbourne Art Song Collective and Continuo Collective, and has featured a number of times as part of the Melbourne Recital Centre’s ‘Local Heroes’ program.

Upcoming projects include Count Almaviva, the Barber of Seville, for Melbourne Opera; as well as a concert collaboration with acclaimed early music ensemble Ludovico’s Band at the Melbourne Recital Centre.

For more information, visit


JESSICA ASZODI – Imogen Harcourt


Jessica specializes in adventurous repertoire. She is a performer with a commitment to making compelling music happen, which she undertakes to do through a varied schedule of performance, production, curation and research. A passionate advocate for new music, she has given world or local premieres of over 50 works.

Her singing has garnered praise for its “…virtuosic whimsy” (New York Times) & “…upmost security and power…” (Chicago Tribune). As an operatic performer she has been described as “one of the finest actress-singers in the country” (The Age). Her roles cover a wide terrain; from Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) to Sesto (Guilio Cesare) to Elliot Carter’s Rose (What Next?) and Stockhausen’s Eve [Dienstag aus Licht]. She has been nominated for Greenroom Awards as ‘best female operatic performer’ in both the leading and supporting categories.  She is an alumna of the Victorian Opera Company’s Young Artist Program.

As a soloist or chamber musician Jessica has performed with ICE (international contemporary ensemble), the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Victorian Opera, the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Orchestra, Eighth Blackbird, San Diego Symphony, Bang on a Can and in Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella series. She has featured in festivals around the world including the Aldeburgh Festival (UK), Tanglewood Festival (USA), Darmstadt (Germany), the Melbourne International Arts Festival and the Vivid Sydney Festival. She is also a recording artist on Chandos, Ars Publica and Cajid.

Jessica has spearheaded many projects involved in the recording, commissioning, producing and performing of new Australian works. A few of the diverse group of composers with whom she has collaborated include David Chisholm, Mohammed Fairouz, Iain Grandage, James Rushford, Patricia Allessandrini and Anthony Pateras.  Jessica holds a Masters of Music Performance from the University of California San Diego and is a candidate for the Doctor of Music Performance (research) at Griffith University.

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