|Opera by Constantine Koukias|
|Language||Ecclesiastical and Modern Greek|
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
To Traverse Water is an opera by Constantine Koukias a Tasmanian composer and opera director of Greek ancestry based in Amsterdam, where he is known by his Greek name of Konstantin Koukias. The opera depicts a young Greek woman's departure for Australia and her settlement there. Her tale is loosely based on that of Koukias’ mother, and the opera makes direct reference to her at the end of the show when a slide picture of her appears, along with a tape of her voice intoning an old village song.
Constantine Koukias is a Tasmanian composer and opera director of Greek ancestry based in Amsterdam, where he is known by his Greek name of Konstantin Koukias. He is the co-founder and artistic director of IHOS Music Theatre and Opera, which was established in 1990 in Tasmania's capital city, Hobart.
Writing of the 1995 Melbourne Festival production, The Age's Jim Davidson noted that "with the modern decline in church-going, one of opera's key functions is to offer ritual re-enactment at an emotionally intense level".
To Traverse Water blends instrumental music, operatic singing, folk song, drama, dance, light sculpture, art installations and film to create a hybrid performance piece.Sung in Ecclesiastical and Modern Greek, the text is drawn from fragments of the Old Testament, the New Testament, the I Ching, Greek folk songs, the Divine Liturgy, and the writings of Kostas Gionis, Vasiliki Koukias (Constantine's mother) and Koukias himself. The work is in two parts and features eight singers, five speaking voices and seven musicians.
The Old Testament is the first part of Christian Bibles, based primarily upon the Hebrew Bible, a collection of ancient religious writings by the Israelites believed by most Christians and religious Jews to be the sacred Word of God. The second part of the Christian Bible is the New Testament.
The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first part being the Old Testament, based on the Hebrew Bible. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments together as sacred scripture. The New Testament has frequently accompanied the spread of Christianity around the world. It reflects and serves as a source for Christian theology and morality. Extended readings and phrases directly from the New Testament are incorporated into the various Christian liturgies. The New Testament has influenced religious, philosophical, and political movements in Christendom and left an indelible mark on literature, art, and music.
The I Ching or Yi Jing, also known as Classic of Changes or Book of Changes, is an ancient Chinese divination text and the oldest of the Chinese classics. Possessing a history of more than two and a half millennia of commentary and interpretation, the I Ching is an influential text read throughout the world, providing inspiration to the worlds of religion, psychoanalysis, literature, and art. Originally a divination manual in the Western Zhou period (1000–750 BC), over the course of the Warring States period and early imperial period (500–200 BC) it was transformed into a cosmological text with a series of philosophical commentaries known as the "Ten Wings". After becoming part of the Five Classics in the 2nd century BC, the I Ching was the subject of scholarly commentary and the basis for divination practice for centuries across the Far East, and eventually took on an influential role in Western understanding of Eastern thought.
As with other large-scale Koukias operas such as Days and Nights with Christ and Tesla - Lightning in His Hand , To Traverse Water is performed in the vast spaces so crucial to early Koukias operas produced by the IHOS Experimental Music Theatre Troupe (now IHOS Music Theatre and Opera)and features "truly epic staging". Describing its 1995 production for the Greek Festival of Sydney, James Waites applauds Ann Wulff's visual production design: "From the roof hang a half-dozen fishing boats, mechanised oars sweeping the air, a potent image holding this story of human transport together."
Days and Nights with Christ is the first of five full-scale operas by the Constantine Koukias a Tasmanian composer and opera director of Greek ancestry based in Amsterdam, where he is known by his Greek name of Konstantin Koukias. This was the first opera / music theatre production by IHOS Experimental Theatre Troupe. It premiered at Hobart’s Salamanca Arts Festival in 1990 and two years later was a highlight of the Festival of Sydney. The work, which explores images associated with schizophrenia, was inspired by the experiences of the composer’s brother and by their shared Greek heritage.
Tesla – Lightning in His Hand is a large-scale opera about Serbian American engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla, composed by Constantine Koukias a Tasmanian composer and opera director of Greek ancestry based in Amsterdam, where he is known by his Greek name of Konstantin Koukias, with libretto by Marianne Fisher.
IHOS Music Theatre and Opera is a Tasmanian opera company was established in Hobart in 1990, by composer and artistic director Constantine Koukias, and production director Werner Ihlenfeld to create original music-theatre and opera works.
The opera's narrative is presented in a simple, montage structure: Part One is set in Greece, Part Two in Australia. Through the culturally specific story of Despina, Koukias provides an authentic view of the immigrant experience that avoids cliche. The work, nevertheless, offers an insight into the broader tensions of multiculturalism in Australia.
To Traverse Water was first produced for Hobart's Abel Tasman Festival in 1992. Sound recordings are held in the National Library of Australia,and a seven-minute documentary film of the 1992 production produced by Joy Toma and directed by David Male for SBS Television is available through Screen Australia. Since its last production in 1995, To Traverse Water has also featured in a number of publications, including Gordon Kerry's New Classical Music: Composing Australia and RealTime's In Repertoire: A Selected Guide To Australian Music Theatre.
The National Library of Australia (NLA) is the largest reference library in Australia, responsible under the terms of the National Library Act for "maintaining and developing a national collection of library material, including a comprehensive collection of library material relating to Australia and the Australian people." In 2012–13, the National Library collection comprised 6,496,772 items, and an additional 15,506 metres (50,873 ft) of manuscript material. It is located in Parkes, Canberra, ACT.
Original production design Ann E. Wulff, American visual artist, in association with Australian visual artists Evangelos Sakaris, Stuart Vaskess, Brian Parkes and Ben Blakenbrough.
Choreographer Christos Linou.
Original Costume Design and Fabrication Caz Pellow-Jones
The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (TSO) is a symphony orchestra based in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. It is the smallest of the six orchestras established by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
Matthew Ingvald Dewey is an Australian classical music composer, singer, and music producer.
Ian Cresswell is an Australian composer born in 1968. He obtained Bachelor of Music at the Australian National University in 1996 and Master of Music at the University of Queensland in 2002. Cresswell is currently doing postgraduate studies at the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Tasmania.
Maria Grenfell is an Australian composer of New Zealand origin.
Theatre of Australia refers to the history of the performing arts in Australia, or produced by Australians. There are theatrical and dramatic aspects to a number of Indigenous Australian ceremonies such as the corroboree. During its colonial period, Australian theatrical arts were generally linked to the broader traditions of English literature and to British and Irish theatre. Australian literature and theatrical artists have over the last two centuries introduced the culture of Australia and the character of a new continent to the world stage.
Michael Robert Garth Lampard is an Australian opera singer, conductor and composer born in Hobart, Tasmania.
The Traverse Theatre is a theatre in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was founded in 1963 by John Calder, Jim Haynes and Richard Demarco seeking to extend the spirit of the Festival throughout the year.
The Lunch Box is a chamber opera by Thai composer Thanapoom Sirichang and Thai librettist Bringkop Vora-Urai. Composed entirely in Tasmania under the guidance of IHOS Artistic Director Constantine Koukias, The Lunch Box may be the first opera sung in Thai to blend traditional Thai music and contemporary Western opera.
Prayer Bells is a choral concert piece by Tasmanian (Australian) composer Constantine Koukias featuring dozens of handbells cast for the celebration of Australia's 2001 Centenary of Federation. Also comprising three solo cantors and a small male choir, the one-hour work premiered at the Federation Festival of Melbourne in 2001. Since then it has been performed in Australia in Launceston, Canberra, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart, Wollongong and Sydney. It had its USA premiere at the Chicago Cultural Center.
MIKROVION, by Constantine Koukias a Tasmanian composer and opera director of Greek ancestry based in Amsterdam, where he is known by his Greek name of Konstantin Koukias. This opera is described by Maria Shevtsova as "an epic opera about AIDS".
The Divine Kiss — The Evil is Always and Everywhere is an opera by Constantine Koukias a Tasmanian composer and opera director of Greek ancestry based in Amsterdam, where he is known by his Greek name of Konstantin Koukias. The opera explores the imagery of the seven saving virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance, faith, hope and charity.
Olegas is an opera based on the life of Lithuanian-born Tasmanian wilderness photographer Olegas Truchanas. Music for the opera was composed by Constantine Koukias a Tasmanian composer and opera director of Greek ancestry based in Amsterdam, where he is known by his Greek name of Konstantin Koukias. The libretto was written by Natasha Cica.
The Priest's Passion is a one scene chamber opera by Australian composer Matthew Dewey, and was first produced by the IHOS Music Theatre Laboratory together with the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music in September 2004. It premiered at the Stanley Burbury Theatre at the University of Tasmania in 2004 and was subsequently recorded by ABC Classic FM. The work, which explores the nature of religious angst is a symbolist opera.
Kerry James Casey was an Australian actor, writer, director, and performance teacher. He worked in bilingual theatre in Australia with companies using Greek, French, Vietnamese, and Italian languages and cultures in performance.
Prima Donna: A Symphonic Visual Concert is a music and visual concert inspired by American-Canadian singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright's 2009 opera Prima Donna. The two-part program features a concert adaptation of the opera accompanied by a film directed by Francesco Vezzoli, produced by Petite Maison Production and featuring Cindy Sherman, followed by a performance of Wainwright singing well-known songs from his repertoire.
Gordon Kerry is an Australian composer, music administrator, music writer and music critic.