Against the stark background of Federation-era Australia, on the remote cattle station of Dry River Run, unfurls the epic drama of the Callaway family. Paul Dean and Rodney Hall’s new opera presents a world immortalised by Barbara Baynton and Henry Lawson, while evoking the raw beauty of the surrounding landscape. As the nation struggles to come to terms with its new identity, so too do the Callaways as they struggle to face their darkest secrets.
The action takes place against the background of Federation, with Australia on the brink of independence. The scene is set in a remote town in western Queensland in 1900. Archie Callaway, a popular local identity, farmer and keen advocate of Federation, has died. The opera opens with his funeral and the arrival of his surviving brother to lay claim to a half share in the property.
The story centres around the dead man’s widow and her spirited daughter Veronica. Caught in a plot of domestic violence played out in the context of Victorian morality, they pin their hopes on women gaining the vote in the new nation. This, they believe, will deliver equal rights and justice in future. The three men implicated in the family tragedy must wrestle with their consciences to find a way forward, which for each of them involves a different choice.
About the Artists
Brisbane born and bred clarinetist Paul Dean is widely regarded as one of Australia’s foremost musicians in his multiple capacities as soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, composer and Artistic Director. He currently holds the position of Head of Winds at Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University. He is a founding member of the Endeavour Trio and co- Artistic Director of Ensemble Q with Trish O’Brien.
Paul was the Artistic Director of the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) from 2010 – 2015 and a Principal Clarinet with the Australian World Orchestra.
Paul was the Artistic Director of the Four Winds Festival and the Tutti Beijing International Youth Music Festival and was also the founder and Artistic Director of the Southern Cross Soloists, the Bangalow Music Festival and the Sunwater and Stanwell Winter Music School.
Between 1987 and 2000 he was Principal Clarinet with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and has appeared as soloist with the Orchestra on over 40 occasions. Paul has performed as soloist with the Queensland, Melbourne, West Australian, Adelaide and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras, the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra, Southern Sinfonia NZ, Trondheim Symfoniker (Norway). As a chamber musician he has been guest artist with the Navarra Quartet, the Doric Quartet, the Heath Quartet, the Australian String Quartet, the Goldner String Quartet, the Grainger Quartet, the Flinders Quartet, and the Tin Alley Quartet. He has performed as soloist at many Festivals throughout world including the Oxford May Music Festival, the Huntington Music Festival, Alpine Classic Switzerland, the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Trondheim Chamber Music Festival, Coramba Chamber Music Festival, Camden Haven Music Festival, and the Melbourne, Christchurch, Brisbane, Queensland, Perth, and Sydney Festivals. Most recently Paul toured Portugal and Hamburg with Trish O’Brien, Jack Liebeck and celebrated Portugese pianist Filipe Pinto-Riveiro.
Paul’s recording of the Mozart and Brahms clarinet works for the Melba label, and the clarinet music of English composer Benjamin Frankel for German label CPO have won high praise from critics around the world.
Paul has composed music for the violinists Jack Liebeck and Anthony Marwood, cellists Torleif Thedeen, Trish O’Brien and Patrick Murphy, tenor Andrew Goodwin and pianist Daniel De Borah, harpist Marshall McGuire, the Brodsky and Flinders Quartets, Katie Noonan, the Melbourne Piano Trio, the Seraphim Trio, the Endeavour Trio, Australia Piano Quartet and the Australian Flute Festival. His opera Dry River Run commissioned by the Queensland
Conservatorium Opera School, which will premiere in September, 2018 and in 2017 the Queensland Symphony premiered the Orchestral Fragments of the opera. Amongst other commissions, Paul has been commissioned to write a clarinet concerto and violin concerto for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in 2019, and has been commissioned by the Aspen Music Festival (Colorado) and both Melbourne and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras to write a concerto for Andrew Bain, Principal Horn of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Rodney Hall’s Melbourne based productions include Quilting the Armour (a play about the women in Ned Kelly’s life), A Dialogue of Love & Power for Accademia Arcadia and, for the Woodend Winter Arts Festival, Gagliano’s opera Dafne, 1604, a whole new reconception of Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale and in 2014 the earliest surviving opera, Peri’s Euridice of 1600. His libretto and scenario Whispers, music by Andrew Ford, has been performed in every Australian state capital. He wrote and directed the First World War memorial production, Remembrance, for the Victorian Opera in 2015.
In the late 1970s he was well-known in early music circles as a recorder player and he taught at the Canberra School of Music. He played in the orchestra pit in Purcell and Handel operas for the UNSW Opera Company and Young Opera. With John Stinson he founded and directed the Australian Summer School of Early Music. He was artistic co- director of the Four Winds Festival, at Bermagui NSW from 1996-2004. He was director of the Australian Festival in Seoul, 2002.
In 2013 he wrote and performed in a multi-media tribute to the painter Ian Fairweather, performed at the Brisbane International Arts Festival and Adelaide’s OzAsia Festival. His play A Return to the Brink was produced at the Malthouse for the 1999 Melbourne International Festival. He wrote and compiled the texts for the spoken component of the five Twilight Series performances for the Centenary of Federation Festival in Melbourne, 2001 and was chosen to as speak as representative of all Australian writers at the official centenary celebration in the Melbourne Exhibition Building.
Rodney Hall is an author with an international reputation. His books have been published in the USA, UK and Canada and in translation into German, French, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Korean, Spanish and Portuguese. His latest novel, A Stolen Season, was published by Picador in 2018.
He has twice won the Miles Franklin Award and has twice been awarded the gold medal of the Australian Literature Society. In 1990 he was made a member of the Order of Australia and awarded the Commonwealth Medal in 2003. In 1991 he was appointed chairman of the Australia Council for a three-year term.
Proudly supported by Philip Bacon Galleries
This production contains strong adult themes and is recommended for mature audiences.