Two extraordinary song cycles return to Adelaide Festival in 2024, now accompanied by the full force of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
Songwriter Lior and composer Nigel Westlake’s first song cycle, Compassion, premiered at the Sydney Opera House in 2013 and was hailed as an instant classic. It was performed across the country to critical acclaim, including in a chamber version that premiered at the 2018 Adelaide Festival.
Ten years later, they created Ngapa William Cooper with Yorta Yorta Dja Dja Wurrung singer, composer and language activist Lou Bennett, which had its world premiere at the 2023 Adelaide Festival, also in chamber form.
★★★★★ A work of both outstanding musical quality and extraordinary cultural significance.
Limelight (Ngapa William Cooper)
For the very first time, orchestral versions of both song cycles are presented together in a one-night-only performance at the 2024 Adelaide Festival. Conducted by Nigel Westlake, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra creates the musical backdrop for the voices of Lior and Lou Bennett.
Compassion and Ngapa William Cooper are both drawn from historical events and writings – one centres on ancient Hebrew and Arabic texts on the theme of compassion, while the other tells the story of Yorta Yorta activist William Cooper and his protest against the persecution of European Jewry by the Nazi regime following the atrocities of Kristallnacht. Their messages are relevant to this day.
Join us for a night of uplifting music from some of our finest musical storytellers and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
Poetic, beautiful and rewarding... a joyful celebration of compassion, exploring its ability to bring people together across the divides of race and fear.
The two voices of Lior and Bennett find a complementary perfection in their shapely lilt and the heart and warmth of their delivery.
Ngapa William Cooper Composed by Nigel Westlake, Lior, Lou Bennett, additional lyric content Sarah Gory
Original chamber version of Ngapa William Cooper commissioned by Ulrike Klein AO and Adelaide Festival, in association with UKARIA and Finding Our Voice, with support from the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund, an Australian Government Initiative, and first performed in the 2023 Adelaide Festival.
Symphonic realisation commissioned by the Australian Youth Orchestra for the AYO Winter Season 2023.