Post image for Biographica

A new production by composer, Mary Finsterer and librettist, Tom Wright performed with Ensemble Offspring and Sydney Chamber Opera.

Renaissance polymath Gerolamo Cardano is one of the most influential thinkers of all time. Not only the inventor of algebra, he was also a surgeon, gambler, philosopher, astrologer and heretic. Sydney Chamber Opera’s world premiere sees Cardano, played by Mitchell Butel, telling the story of his incredible life.
With Renaissance-inspired music by composer Mary Finsterer, libretto by Tom Wright and direction by Janice Muller, Biographica thrums with the energy of an age where science, thought and discovery were expanding – and is infused with the extraordinary humanity and wit of a true genius.
Sydney Chamber Opera have been creating intense, moving, brilliant opera – breathing new life into the art form – since 2010. Joined by Ensemble Offspring musicians, and conducted by Jack Symonds, this electrifying premiere is startlingly original, fresh and fascinating.
Composer & Concept: Mary Finsterer
Librettist: Tom Wright
Conducter: Jack Symonds
Director: Janice Muller
Costume Design: Charles Davis
Lighting Design: Matt Cox

Photo credit (above): Dean Golja


Sydney Festival, Carriageworks, 7-9 and 11-13 January, 2017, 7:30pm 


Mary Finsterer – Biographica (World Premiere)


Claire Edwardes – Percussion
Jason Noble – Clarinet
Lamorna Nightingale – Flute
Christina Leonard – Saxophone
Rowan Phemister – Harp
Miki Tsunoda – Violin
Anna McMichael – Violin
James Wannan – Viola
Freya Schack-Arnott – Cello
Kirsty McCahon – Double Bass
Zubin Kanga – Piano/Celeste

Media & Acclaim

“the ensemble (modern instruments plus viola d’amore) plays with commitment and precision”
Shirley Apthorp, Financial Times
“Ensemble Offspring, excellent as ever and conducted by Jack Symonds, realise with great finesse Finsterer’s adroitly orchestrated score…”
Keith Gallasch, Realtime Arts
“Finsterer’s score [is] expertly delivered by Ensemble Offspring”
Angus McPherson, Limelight Magazine
“…eminent guests from Ensemble Offspring, including Claire Edwardes and Zubin Kanga, raised the number of instrumentalists to not even a dozen, yet the vast space of Bay 20 was filled with profoundly impressive sounds”
Jason Catlett, Time Out Sydney
“Finsterer’s music proved to be as eclectic and wideranging as Cardano’s intellectual pursuits. Scored for a chamber ensemble of strings, woodwinds, keyboards and percussion, Biographica’s complex yet crystalline textures,evocative instrumental colours, intricate rhythms and Renaissance-inspired vocal writing resulted in an absorbing, appealing sound world”
Murray Black, The Australian