tHE rEDFERN oRATORIO
“Imagine ….. Imagine ….. Imagine if we can
Open our hearts and know the pain
And contemplate the suffering of the
First people of this land.”
from The Redfern Oratorio
Music by Christopher Bowen OAM
Text by Pamela Traynor
The Redfern Oratorio - Premier Performance
Sunday, 13 November 2022
Sydney Town Hall
The Music Director of the Sydney University Graduate Choir, Christopher Bowen OAM, has composed a major new choral work, based on the nationally significant Redfern speech of December 1992, given by then Prime Minister, Paul Keating. The Redfern speech was an important event in Australian history and in the development of Australia’s relationship with its Indigenous people. The Albanese Government’s intention to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart has given a renewed salience to the issues touched on in Paul Keating’s Redfern speech.
Christopher Bowen’s new work, entitled The Redfern Oratorio, has been commissioned by Robyn Williams AO, the well-known ABC science broadcaster. The Choir plans to perform it in its Sydney Sings® concert for 2022. The Sydney Sings® series of concerts is held in the Sydney Town Hall and permits us to program major works involving forces too large for our usual performance space in the Great Hall of the University. In recent years, the Choir has presented in this series Brahms’s A German Requiem, Verdi’s Requiem, several performances of Handel’s Messiah and, in August 2014 and November 2018, to considerable acclaim, Christopher Bowen’s An Australian War Requiem.
The performance of The Redfern Oratorio is planned to be given in the Sydney Town Hall on Sunday, 13 November. It will involve a large orchestra, soprano and baritone soloists, and guest choral singers to supplement the Sydney University Graduate Choir. The soloists will be Amy Moore (soprano) and Adrian Tamburini (baritone).
The great Israeli conductor, Daniel Barenboim, has commented: “I have read with great interest the libretto and the score of The Redfern Oratorio and find it very important that it should be performed in Sydney and other Australian cities. I congratulate the creators of The Redfern Oratorio for addressing the serious issues which confront Australia’s Indigenous people”.