Oscar Wilde’s The Selfish Giant has enchanted generations of children since it was first published in 1888. The 131-year-old short story finds new life as an opera, adapted by two young Victorians, making its world premiere as Victorian Opera’s Youth Opera with a sold-out season at Gasworks Arts Park from 16-19 October.
Librettist (writer) Emma Muir-Smith, 29, and composer/conductor Simon Bruckard, 28, will take an exciting next step in their creative careers when The Selfish Giant premieres in mid-October. Both former Victorian Opera Young Artists, the talented pair spent many years working with the state opera company; on stage, in the pit, and behind the scenes participating in the development of many new works and Youth Operas. This experience guided them to uncover The Selfish Giant and explore its potential to be adapted into an opera.
The story is set in a Giant’s beautiful garden where children love to play each day. When the Giant discovers this on his return from a seven-year holiday, he banishes them. With absence of children, Snow, Frost, and Wind cloak the garden in an endless winter. The Giant longs for the other seasons to return yet his garden is forgotten by them. When children sneak in one day, spring returns and winter lifts. The Giant learns a valuable lesson about the importance of generosity and having an open heart; sharing his garden with all children and celebrating the return of each season.
The Selfish Giant highlights Victorian Opera’s commitment to new Australian opera, marking the company’s 22nd world premiere since its formation in 2005, and the importance of providing education pathways for young talent through the framework of a performing arts company.
16 – 19 October, Gasworks Arts Park