Judith’s Return | Mona Foma 2021

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Judith’s Return

James Brennan

‘Ah, that I am Judith, am coming from him,
out of the tent out of the bed, out-trickling his head,
three-times drunken blood.’
—Rainer Maria Rilke

This, a world premiere performance, is a soaring, romantic and full-throttle new opera, inspired by the story of Judith: a biblical heroine and murderous widow who seduced an invading army general and (allegedly) chopped off his head. Nine disembodied male voices sound in the dark: prisoners from Warsaw’s Białołęka Prison contemplating Judith’s tale; and a chorus with skin in the game when it comes to matters of violence and virtue.

Joining these absent men on stage is renowned soprano Jacqueline Dark in the role of Judith, and mystery guests who lend the story a Tassie take on Judith’s crime: courage or madness?

The Theatre Royal’s trad stage is hijacked with multi-channel video shot at great peril in Poland, from mountain ranges to bombed-out warehouses, as music for church organ, synthesisers and drums fill the theatre. With a libretto by Rilke, performed in German, Polish and Tasmanian.

Judith’s Return is six years in the making, including the lengthy process of gaining access to Białołęka—one of Eastern Europe’s largest detention centres. Here in Hobart, the opera will also stream live to an audience inside the Risdon Prison walls (we hope).

Saturday 23 + Sunday 24 January, 8pm9pm

Recommended ages 15+
$30 / $25 + booking fee

Venue accessibility
This venue is accessible. If you would like to book accessible seating, email tickets@mona.net.au.

Warning: performance contains coarse language, nudity, themes of violence and criminal activity, strong lighting and sound effects

Directed by James Brennan
Produced by Insite Arts
Composed by James Brennan and Szczepan Pospieszalski
Set and lighting design by Ben ‘Bosco’ Shaw / ADDITIVE

Supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and Arts Tasmania