Rehearsals are underway for Victorian Opera’s latest commission Parrwang Lifts the Sky ahead of a limited season at Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse on Saturday 12 June, presented in association with Short Black Opera. The opera will also be streamed worldwide.

Celebrated Yorta Yorta composer and soprano Deborah Cheetham AO, recent recipient of the Helpmann Awards’ JC Williamson Award, has written, composed and stars in this new Australian opera for children and families.

Parrwang Lifts the Sky tells the creation story of the sunrise based on a traditional story from Wadawurrung Country.

A long time ago, the sky was a blanket on the land. The earth was in darkness and the people were afraid. It was a very sad state of affairs and would have stayed that way except for the courage of Parrwang the magpie.

Tjatjarrang (Big Sister) and Koki (Brother) are young, adventurous and tired of living in the dark. When they manage to climb to the highest branches of an ancient gum tree, they discover an exciting new world and a steadfast friend in Parrwang, who decides to help the young humans lift the blanket of darkness from the ground.

A plan is devised, but can Parrwang convince the Great Council of Birds to agree?

Deborah Cheetham notes: “Parrwang Lifts the Sky is a simple, yet profound story which goes to the heart of our need to understand and respect the natural world in which we live. It is a privilege to share the gift of this beautiful Wadawurrung story through the powerful medium of opera and to once again have the opportunity to connect audiences with the longest continuing culture in the world.”

As an extension of its in-theatre season, Parrwang Lifts the Sky will also be live-streamed worldwide on Saturday 12 June at 2pm. This performance will be available to watch later on-demand for the following six-months.

Deborah Cheetham -Parrwang Lifts the Sky

Saturday 12 June at 11am, 2pm, 5pm

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