Ali McGregor Program Note
8th September, 2022

Ali McGregor Program Note

See artist Ali McGregor's program note below

After the success of Lorelei and seeing Australian audiences thirst for new work that played with the operatic form, I created FLUXUS. With a mission to bring creative teams together, bringing stories to life that relate to contemporary audiences. Stories that resonate and are universal in theme and fundamentally shed light on the human experience.

I first heard The Call as a radio narrative on The Moth’s storytelling podcast. Auburn told her story to a captive, live audience. It was raw, beautifully curated, and resonated deeply with me. I instantly saw it as an opera and set out to find this extraordinary storyteller. Auburn and I started an email correspondence, and when I told her I wanted to option her story and make it into an opera, she thought I was slightly mad, but she gave her full blessing.

When I started to think of the ideal creative team, Kate Miller Heidke & Keir Nuttall were the first people that came to mind. With their experience as song and lyric writers and Kate’s background in classical music, they seemed the perfect fit. I also knew that this story of a woman burning down her insulated sense of privilege and finding hope at the end of a dark tunnel would set their creative wheels in motion as passionately as it did mine.

The next step was to find a composer. I had been in the audience at a Katie Noonan concert in Melbourne, where she was singing a collection of poetry set by contemporary composers. One of my favourite pieces of the night was composed by a young Brisbane composer Connor D’Netto. I soon realised that Connor’s idiosyncratic compositional style was perfectly suited to this project.

Finally, I needed collaborative partners. I have known Patrick Nolan since working together at Opera Australia almost 15 years before. Having brought Lorelei to Opera Queensland, I knew first-hand his passion for contemporary work and his fierce support of women in the operatic industry (of which there is a distinct lack). I also knew he would challenge me more than almost any other director I know. To bring this work to Brisbane Festival, to have them come on board from the very beginning to co-produce this work was a dream come true for a fledgling company with big ambitions. Oh, and Marg Horwell – every show she has designed has blown me away with such force that I generally come out of the theatre with eyes afresh and heart ablaze. I have been lucky enough to work with her on three shows in as many years, and I hope there is more to come.

The Call is lyrically rich and melodically fresh. It has moments of discomfort but is ultimately a story about hope and connection. And there is really nothing more I want from art or life.

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