2018 Sydney

August 31-September 1

Our presenting partners

ariadne greif

Photo by Bruce Kung.

Photo by Bruce Kung.

Ariadne Greif, praised for her “luminous, expressive voice,” “searing top notes,” and “dusky depths,” (NY Times), began her opera career as a ‘boy’ soprano in Los Angeles and at the LA Opera, eventually making an adult debut singing Lutoslawski’s Chantefleurs et Chantefables with the American Symphony Orchestra. She starred in roles ranging from Therese/Tirésias in Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias, singing a “thoroughly commanding and effortless” run at the Aldeburgh Festival, to Sappho in Atthis by Georg Friedrich Haas, which the New York Times called “a solo high-wire act for Ms. Greif,” “a vehicle for Ms. Greif’s raw, no-holds-barred performance,” and “one of the most searingly painful and revealing operatic performances in recent times.” This season and last season include Carmina Burana, La Bohème, The Magic Flute, Beethoven Symphony No. 9, Mozart Requiem, Mozart Vespers K.321, and Babbit’s A Solo Requiem, concerts of chamber music in Weill Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, across the US, Canada, Finland, the Middle East, and appearances with Mainly Mozart Miami, Contemporaneous, Metropolis Ensemble, Lukas Ligeti, Gabriel Kahane, SHUFFLE Concert, The Knights, and members of The Orlando Philharmonic. Greif created a twenty-composer commissioning project of her own, called Dreams & Nightmares. Her most recent role was Adina in The Elixir of Love with The Orlando Philharmonic.

Her Sydney set plays through scenes on the complex experiences of children. Greif’s theatrical program features new and recent work by Shawn Jaeger, Ricardo Romaneiro and Ryan Chase (Jabberwocky) – for which she will be joined by wunderkind New York-based Australian organist Alessandro Pittorino. Ariadne Greif is represented by CADENZA ARTISTS LLC.

Sonya holowell

Photo by Josef Goding.

Photo by Josef Goding.

Resonant Bodies EMERGING Artist

Indigenous Australian Sonya Holowell is an emerging vocalist dedicated to presenting the most challenging and rarely-performed compositions for voice. Holowell has performed at many of the leading national and international classical and new music festivals as a soloist, ensemble singer and improviser. She has performed with a number of ensembles at the forefront of contemporary music including Ensemble Offspring, Australian Art Orchestra, Decibel, and the Splinter Orchestra and has collaborated with an array of artists and composers of new music, in Australia and abroad. Projects include the Holowell Duo, an improvising partnership with pianist/trumpeter Jonathan Holowell; and CACHE in POINT, which she curates/performs with designer/flutist Elia Bosshard. Last year Holowell presented her work in Europe where she was invited to participate in the soundSCAPE Composition and Performance Exchange in Maccagno, Italy; the Improvisation Xchange in Berlin; and the International Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt.

For her Resonant Bodies set, Sonya will bring her two duos (with pianist/improviser Jonathan Holowell and designer Elia Bosshard) together into one show. The Holowell Duo will play an extended free improvisation accompanied by a grand-scale sculptural installation by Bosshard. Holowell’s epic and unpredictable performances are colored by backgrounds in classical, jazz, modal and experimental genres. Placing their trust in spontaneous processes for organizing sound, their set will respond with immediacy and subtlety to the complex stimuli of the Carriageworks architecture.

sofia jernberg

Sofia Jernberg 1*.png

Sofia Jernberg is a Swedish singer and composer, born in Ethiopia in 1983, and raised in Sweden, Ethiopia and Vietnam. One of Jernberg's deepest interests as a singer is to develop the “instrumental” possibilities of the voice. Her singing vocabulary includes an array of techniques that push beyond the conventions of Western vocal sound. She has dug deep into split tone singing, pitchless singing and distorted singing and her skills have been applied to a wide array of musical projects. In 2014, Sofia performed Arnold Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire and Salvatore Sciarrino’s Lohengrin and she composes for modern jazz octet Paavo, and contemporary quartet The New Songs. As an improviser, Jernberg appears in many different constellations, but regularly in a duo with cellist Lene Grenager. As a composer, her main focus lies in the blending of improvisation and composition. Upcoming collaborations involve DuoEgo (Sweden), The Peärls Before Swïne (Sweden), Trondheim Jazz Orchestra (Norway), The Opera Group (UK), and Norbotten Big Band (Sweden).

Sofia's Sydney set will open with a solo by Sofia after which she will be joined by Jim Denley (saxophone) in a new composition by Johan Jutterström (Sweden) that takes these adventurous musicians to their limits.

deborah kayser

Photo by Daisy Noyes. Image commissioned for  Chamber Made Opera’s  Exile  (2010) .

Photo by Daisy Noyes. Image commissioned for Chamber Made Opera’s Exile (2010).

Deborah Kayser performs in areas as diverse as ancient Byzantine chant, French and German Baroque song and classical contemporary music, both scored and improvised. Her work has led her to tour regularly both within Australia and internationally to Europe and Asia. She has recorded, as soloist, on numerous CDs, and her work is frequently broadcast on ABC radio. As a member of JOUISSANCE, and the contemporary music ensembles ELISION and LIBRA, she has performed radical interpretations of Byzantine and Medieval chant, and premiered works written specifically for her voice by local and overseas composers. For Kayser, performance highlights include works by composers Liza Lim, Richard Barrett, David Young, Volker Heyne, Michael Finnissy, Helen Gifford and Chris Dench.

Her set for Resonant Bodies is the next chapter in her long-standing project, One Hundred Months, Third of East. Composed by (and performed with) contrabass player Nick Tsiavos, One Hundred Months… journeys through a kind of modernist Byzantium of the imagination, forming an architecture into which both voice and bass project.

mitchell riley

Photo by Zan Wimberley.

Photo by Zan Wimberley.

Mitch is an Artistic Associate with Sydney Chamber Opera and is currently undertaking studies at the École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. In 2016 Mitch performed in the Australian premieres of two works by the pre-eminent French composer Pascal Dusapin as part of the Sydney Festival: Passion, in a production by Pierre Audi, and O Mensch!, a staged song-cycle for baritone and piano. He gave the Australian premiere of György Kurtág’s …pas à pas – nulle part… in a world-first 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 Elliott Gyger (Jim in Fly Away Peter for Melbourne Festival, 2015), Michael Smetanin (Lenin/Stalin in Mayakovsky, 2014) and Jack Symonds (Parsifal in Climbing Toward Midnight, 2013; Nunc Dimittis, 2011; Aboveground Man in Notes from Underground, 2011) and in 2012 he performed at the 18th Biennale of Sydney in Through The Gates, a semi-staged song cycle which took place amid the installations of Belgian artist Honoré δ’O. Mitch has performed with The Renaissance Players and sung regularly in the chorus for Opera Australia. He has a Bachelor of Music from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. 

For Resonant Bodies in Sydney, Mitch is giving the world premiere of a new one-man stage work by Jack Symonds and Pierce Wilcox. Taking Patrick White’s Voss as its basis, this song cycle for voice, piano (Symonds) and electronics (Ben Carey) pushes Mitchell’s voice and body into new and extreme territory with a quizzically modern interpretation of an Australian icon. 

rully shabara


Experimental vocalist Rully Shabara makes use of a wide range of extended techniques. His work fuses traditional Javanese musical forms with the experimentation of the avant-garde and ideas imported from metal and noise music. His duo Senyawa is a collaboration with instrument creator Wukir Suryadi. Suryadi's assemblages of bamboo, string, and metal have accompanied Senyawa on tours throughout Asia, Australia, Europe, and the USA. They have collaborated with the likes of Yoshida Tatsuya, Otomo Yoshide, Lucas Abela, KK Null, Keiji Haino, Rabih Beiani, Trevor Dunn, Greg Fox, Sofia Jernberg, Arrington De Dionysus, Melt Banana, Jon Sass, Damo Suzuki, Jerome Cooper, Oren Ambarchi, David Shea and Kazu Ushihashi; and they have performed at the Adelaide Festival; MONA FOMA; theGlatt und Verkert Festival (Austria); the Malmo Sommarscen Festival (Sweden); CTM Festival (Berlin); and SuperDeluxe Tokyo.

For his set at Resonant Bodies Rully's many and spectacular voices will eject and escape as raw power in unamplified solo wailing, moving through layers of ecstatic extension, culminating in a new piece with his recently formed project Setabuhan – a pattern-driven, muscular music for voice, drummers (Ramberto Agozalie and Daniel Caesar), and dancers (Raghav Handa and Melinda Tyquin).

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.