WA Opera reveal Noongar language work ‘Koorlbardi wer Wardong’

West Australian Opera have announced they will be celebrating Noongar language, culture and music with a new work, Koorlbardi wer Wardong.

The new piece commissioned by Wesfarmers Arts will be based on the traditional story of the koorlbardi (magpie) and the wardong (crow), two birds who give in to jealousy and competition.

WA Opera will team up with local Noongar musicians Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse on the project, developing special workshops and classes alongside the creation of musical scores and planning for the integration of Noongar language.

“We were excited to start work and to partner with West Australian Opera on this project, dreaming up a production that celebrates strong cultural elements of language, song and narrative,” Williams & Ghouse said.

“We are especially keen to work with young people on this project, as this has great potential to be an important legacy work. Opera is a powerful way to do this, as many traditional stories from other cultures have been told and passed on for generations. We will present a story that is 3000 generations old, is uniquely West Australian, and will be passed on for many generations to come.”

Carolyn Chard AM, Executive Director, West Australian Opera, applauded the foresight of Wesfarmers Arts in enabling the commissioning of a new work under the challenges of COVID19 restrictions and said “Although the theatres are still dark we have the opportunity to nurture creative development and this commission provides an opportunity to invest in artists and create new Australian work.

“I am grateful to our Principal Partner, Wesfarmers Arts, for supporting this commission. The power of the arts has been abundantly evident during these months of isolation and social distancing.”

Chris van Tuinen, Music Director, West Australian Opera adds; “There is little existing opera repertoire that celebrates Western Australian stories and little or no existing opera repertoire in First Nations Languages based on Aboriginal stories. WAO believes in sharing stories that are relevant and also uniquely speak to this land, time and place.

“We want to cultivate a love of opera in a younger generation and provide access for children from all backgrounds to experience the power of opera with stories that will resonate for them.”

The project is anticipated to come to fruition in September 2021.

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