Homer's Odyssey is the inspiration for OperaUpClose's first work for families
OperaUpClose makes its debut at Kings Place with Ulla’s Odyssey, the world premiere of a nautical fantasy by New Zealand composer Anthony Young and Canadian librettist Leanne Brodie. The work, which includes puppetry, is designed for children aged 7+, families and ‘any adult with a sense of fun and wonder’. It won the company’s own Flourish New Composition Award in 2014 and New Zealand company Opera Factory’s Chamber Opera Composition Competition in 2012.
The heroine, sixteen year old Ulla, is attempting to become the youngest person to sail the world single-handedly in her boat ‘The Homer’. This part of the story has a basis in fact; two sailors, Laura Dekker and Jessica Watson, who both circumnavigated the globe solo, under the age of seventeen, were additional inspirations for the story.
Ulla, however, has her cat Binnacle to keep her company and encounters mythical creatures and obstacles on her journey, including Cy-ops, a one-eyed, over-keen robotic customs official who mistakes her cat for smuggled contraband, and Sylla, a dangerous sea creature whose body and mind have been horribly twisted by radioactive rubbish dumped into the ocean. Meanwhile the voices of the Sirens, Ulla’s friends and family, call out, tempting her to come home.
OperaUpClose premieres Ulla’s Odyssey by Anthony Young and Leanne Brodie at Kings Place on Sunday October 11. Performances will continue on Sundays until November 22.