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Jack Symonds


Pierce Wilcox

Presented by

Carriageworks & Sydney Chamber Opera

Performance Dates

13 Aug - 20 Aug 2016


Anyone but the most daring Dada-ist would typically read Notes from Underground from start to finish. This adaptation was built to use the live stage to its fullest and present the novel’s two halves simultaneously.

The Underground Man’s diatribe no longer tumbles ‘from empty into void’. Instead, it is anchored to the unfolding action of his Aboveground self. His existential manifesto becomes a bitter commentary. The libretto’s structure identifies resonances across the novel’s two sections – moments where the paralysed reflections of Underground and frustrated energy of Aboveground can balance, illuminate or undermine the other’s beliefs. Having the two together on stage allows the work an equilibrium between talk and action; one alone is no story worth telling. Liza is the novel’s only female presence, and her encounter with Aboveground is the centrepiece of the ‘Wet Snow’ story. She is a character born of another genre, the sentimental narrative of the rescued prostitute, and so we chose to give her the only text not by Dostoevsky. In Scene 4 she sings a poem by N.A. Nekrasov from 1845 which Dostoevsky quotes as the epigraph to ‘Apropos of the Wet Snow.’

Further information about Composer Jack Symonds and Librettist Pierce Wilcox can be found on the Australian Music Centre website.

Full Score

'Aboveground' Man Brenton Spiteri
'Underground' Man Simon Lobelson
Liza Jane Sheldon
Simonov/Officer Drew Wilson
Trudolyubov Gautier Pavlovic-Hobba
Ferfichkin Oleg Pupovac
Zverkov Kyle Kazmirzik
Apollon George Kemp

Conductor Jack Symonds
Director Patrick Nolan
Set & Costume Designer Genevieve Blanchett
Lighting Designer Nicholas Rayment
Choreographer Cloé Fournier
Video Design Boris Bagattini

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