In 1913 the Russian Futurists unleashed Victory over the Sun: an opera come proto-science fiction saga of time-travelling revolutionaries. Set and costume design by Ukrainian-born artist, Kazimir Malevich, included an early version of Black Square (1915) – a painting which transformed art of the twentieth century and beyond.
The text: untranslatable. The music: lost to history. Alongside Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, Victory is one of few artistic works which provoked a riot at its premiere.
The 20th Biennale of Sydney brought together Justene Williams and Sydney Chamber Opera to make a new Victory for the 21st century. With Williams’ costumes newly acquired into the National Gallery collection, this remount, staged in celebration of the Gallery’s 40th anniversary, brings together these visionary collaborators to perform the work once more.
Victory is a work of passionate strangeness for the digital age that shows us worlds the Futurists could never have imagined. Drones soar, history collapses, and a pair of strongwomen battle over humanity's fate in a glorious dream of tomorrow.
Welcome to the new future.
Victory over the Sun is a Know My Name project.
Justene Williams with Sydney Chamber Opera and ANU Chamber Singers
Justene Williams: Meanjin/Brisbane-based artist Justene Williams has been making and exhibiting since the 1990s. She uses video, photography, sculpture and performance, often fused into high-energy environments.
Music and Sound Operation: Huw Belling
Libretto and Direction: Pierce Wilcox – Victory Over The Sun Libretto
Conductor, Keyboard, Theremin: Jack Symonds
Lighting Design: Alexander Berlage, James Wallis
Sound Design: Matthew McGuigan
Stage Manager: Leia Loisa
Strongwomen: Jane Sheldon, Jessica O’Donoghue
Nero/Caligula, Coward, Young Man: Mitchell Riley
Bad Man, The One, Vast Man: Simon Lobelson
Traveller, Post-Human: Hannah Cox
Leader, Worker: Amy Hack
New Human: Eleni Schumacher
Viola, Viola d’amore: James Wannan
Flutes: Jane Bishop
Guitars: Joe Manton
Dancers: Ashlee Bye, Max Burgess, Zsuzsi Soboslay, Olive Corben
Chorus Master: Toby Cole
Chorus: ANU Chamber Singers: Lily Ward, Elsa Huber, Emmeline Booth, Lily Fowler, Charles Hudson, Marcel Cole, Ethan Lee, Timothy Kelly
Production: The Street Theatre
Project Manager: Dominique Nagy
Curators: Elspeth Pitt, Senior Curator, Australian Art with Simeran Maxwell, Associate Curator, Australian Art and Deirdre Cannon, Curatorial Assistant, Australian Art.
Live Performance Video
With thanks to
Hyatt Hotel Canberra are offering a unique package for Victory over the sun, that includes two tickets, a complimentary bottle wine on arrival and $200 Food and Beverage credit to use during your stay.