Looking ahead to 2023, the year marks two Ross Edwards anniversaries:
1. Ross Edwards celebrates his 80th Birhday; and
2. The 40th Anniversary of Christina's World - the first and currently only Ross Edwards opera.
Christina’s World was composed by Edwards in 1983 with libretto by Dorothy Hewett. The opera takes its inspiration from Andrew Wyeth’s famous painting of the same name. Painted in 1948, the work is currently on display in the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Inspired by Wyeth’s neighbour, the artwork depicts a woman unable to walk due to a degenerative muscle condition. Rather than using a wheelchair, the painting shows her making her way to the farmhouse using her preferred method of crawling and dragging her body along with her arms. Wyeth explained the challenge “was to do justice to her extraordinary conquest of a life which most people would consider hopeless”.
The Christina’s World opera was described by librettist Dorothy Hewett as “an allegory or fable about illusion and reality and the truth and lies of memory”. Christina’s World tells the story of Christina, who in her middle age is driven to return to the home where she grew up, and reimagine herself there. She conjures up her younger self. But how much of what happens was ever real?
The operatic interpretation of the art work has us dancing deep in the psychological aspects of the piece and the fascinating character of Christina. And even this early in his career, Edwards has set upon the subtle change of sophisticated time signatures that we’ve come to identify with his compositions.
All three artists: Edwards, Hewett and Wyeth; draw their inspiration from the natural environment and the elements.
Initially presented by The Seymour Group in 1983, and then again by State Opera South Australia in 2019; Christina’s World is well due for another showcase of its interwoven themes of mental, emotional and physical wellness. The interplay between memory and imagination sets humanity within the greater force of nature.
Let's celebrate 2023: 40th anniversary of Christina’s World and Ross Edwards’ 80th Birthday!