CHop chef

A Blush Opera production Supported by Southlands Breakthrough Award a Penrith Performing & Visual Arts program; Inner West Council and New Music Network Australia

Chop Chef: The Opera is a dark comedy where six contestants enter the cooking battlefield of Chop Chef. Faced with unusual and extreme cooking challenges they must compete to remain in the game and demonstrate who they are to the judges to avoid facing the chop. Behind the scenes, the producers and judges manipulate the contestants in an effort to create the most cutthroat form of entertainment. In thrilling arias and melodramatic ensembles pieces, contestants are pushed to their limits and some will stop at nothing to be the last chef standing. However, some contestants start to question their place in the competition and push back against the forces that bind them to their contracts. Perhaps the tables will turn...

Chop Chef is a chamber opera in two acts that explores the characters, tropes, and narrative devices of reality television and exports them to the operatic stage where they can be pushed to their absurd conclusions. These shows are a matter of life and death for the contestants. By exploring this topic, Blush is committed to expanding contemporary operatic repertoire with stories that have a direct resonance with broad Australian audiences.

 

Duration 120 min (and 20min interval)

Age M15+

Genre satirical opera

Instrumentation 6 voices + chamber ensemble

Highlights

Uploaded by Greykeys88 on 2017-08-17.

Meet the Creatives

  Paul Smith  Composer  Paul is a lecturer in music at the University of New England where he teaches composition and music theory. He holds a Doctorate of Creative Arts from Western Sydney University where his research focused on music's connection with visual art forms.   His works for theatre include the chamber opera "Fancy Me Dead", first performed as part if the New Music Network Mini Series in 2015, and "The Spider Maiden and the Runaway Plum Blossom", commissioned by Chamber.Sounds and premiered in Singapore in 2016. He also composed and performed a piano score for a collaborative theatre work, "Frankenstein", at The Q in Penrith in October, 2016. He is currently composing a new work in development -  Chop Chef: The Opera  - with librettist Julie Koh for the The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre Southlands Breakthrough Award 2017.  Paul's instrumental compositions include numerous pieces for keyboard. He has collaborated regularly with Italian pianist, Antonietta Lofreddo who has performed his work in Australia and Italy. She has released his pieces, "Kawaii Suite", "Iceberg Variations", and "Holding Masks" on three albums with Wirripang. "'Holding Masks" was performed at the Associazione Carducci in Como in May 2017. Other commissions include "The Death of Baldr" for sextet by the Sirius Chamber Ensemble.   His published research explores music and Japanese visual culture and can be found in the volumes "Manga-Vision" (2016, Monash University Press) and "Music's Immanent Future" (2016, Ashgate Publishing). 

Paul Smith Composer

Paul is a lecturer in music at the University of New England where he teaches composition and music theory. He holds a Doctorate of Creative Arts from Western Sydney University where his research focused on music's connection with visual art forms. 

His works for theatre include the chamber opera "Fancy Me Dead", first performed as part if the New Music Network Mini Series in 2015, and "The Spider Maiden and the Runaway Plum Blossom", commissioned by Chamber.Sounds and premiered in Singapore in 2016. He also composed and performed a piano score for a collaborative theatre work, "Frankenstein", at The Q in Penrith in October, 2016. He is currently composing a new work in development - Chop Chef: The Opera - with librettist Julie Koh for the The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre Southlands Breakthrough Award 2017.

Paul's instrumental compositions include numerous pieces for keyboard. He has collaborated regularly with Italian pianist, Antonietta Lofreddo who has performed his work in Australia and Italy. She has released his pieces, "Kawaii Suite", "Iceberg Variations", and "Holding Masks" on three albums with Wirripang. "'Holding Masks" was performed at the Associazione Carducci in Como in May 2017. Other commissions include "The Death of Baldr" for sextet by the Sirius Chamber Ensemble. 

His published research explores music and Japanese visual culture and can be found in the volumes "Manga-Vision" (2016, Monash University Press) and "Music's Immanent Future" (2016, Ashgate Publishing). 

  Julie Koh  Librettist  Julie Koh (許瑩玲 / J.Y.L. Koh) was born in Sydney to Chinese-Malaysian parents. She studied politics and law at the University of Sydney, then quit a career in corporate law to pursue writing. Her short stories have appeared in  The Best Australian Stories 2014 ,  2015  and  2016 , 2016’s  Best   Australian Comedy   Writing ,  The  Australian, The Sleepers Almanac 7  to  X ,    The Lifted Brow ,  Seizure ,  The Canary Press ,   Kyoto Journal ,  The Fish Anthology     and Fixi Novo’s  HEAT .  In 2013, she was a finalist in the Qantas Spirit of Youth Awards Written Word category, longlisted for the Australian Book Review’s Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, commended for the Australian Society of Authors’ Ray Koppe Young Writers’ Residency, and shortlisted for the Overland Victoria University Short Story Prize for New and Emerging Writers.   A full-length collection,   Portable Curiosities  , is now out with UQP. It has been shortlisted for the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction 2016, the Queensland Literary Awards – Australian Short Story Collection – Steele Rudd Award 2016, and the UTS Glenda Adams Award in the 2017 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.  Portable Curiosities  was one of  The   Guardian’s  Best Australian Books of 2016, an  Australian Book Review  2016 Book of the Year, a  Sydney Morning Herald Daily Life  feminist reading pick of 2016, and a Feminist Writers Festival Best Feminist Book of 2016.  Julie is the editor of   BooksActually’s Gold Standard 2016   (Math Paper Press), a new annual anthology of the best short fiction from cult writers of East Asia, Southeast Asia and the diaspora. She is also a founding member of  Kanganoulipo .  Chop Chef: The opera will be Julie's first foray into the operatic world.

Julie Koh Librettist

Julie Koh (許瑩玲 / J.Y.L. Koh) was born in Sydney to Chinese-Malaysian parents. She studied politics and law at the University of Sydney, then quit a career in corporate law to pursue writing. Her short stories have appeared in The Best Australian Stories 20142015 and 2016, 2016’s Best Australian Comedy WritingTheAustralian, The Sleepers Almanac 7 to X, The Lifted BrowSeizureThe Canary Press, Kyoto JournalThe Fish Anthology and Fixi Novo’s HEAT.

In 2013, she was a finalist in the Qantas Spirit of Youth Awards Written Word category, longlisted for the Australian Book Review’s Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, commended for the Australian Society of Authors’ Ray Koppe Young Writers’ Residency, and shortlisted for the Overland Victoria University Short Story Prize for New and Emerging Writers. 

A full-length collection, Portable Curiosities, is now out with UQP. It has been shortlisted for the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction 2016, the Queensland Literary Awards – Australian Short Story Collection – Steele Rudd Award 2016, and the UTS Glenda Adams Award in the 2017 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Portable Curiosities was one of The Guardian’s Best Australian Books of 2016, an Australian Book Review 2016 Book of the Year, a Sydney Morning Herald Daily Life feminist reading pick of 2016, and a Feminist Writers Festival Best Feminist Book of 2016.

Julie is the editor of BooksActually’s Gold Standard 2016 (Math Paper Press), a new annual anthology of the best short fiction from cult writers of East Asia, Southeast Asia and the diaspora. She is also a founding member of Kanganoulipo.

Chop Chef: The opera will be Julie's first foray into the operatic world.

  Luke Spicer  Conductor  An acclaimed Violist and Chamber Musician, Luke Spicer is now poised to make his mark as a conductor both here and abroad. Graduating with a Mas-ters of Conducting from the Sydney Conservatorium, he has furthered his studies in Freiburg, and Manchester; and attended the Fondazione Musicale Chigiana, working under Maestro Guanluigi Gelmetti.  In 2014 he was appointed Principal Conductor of the Sydney University Symphony Orchestra, and also works regularly with Opera Australia and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Luke made his operatic debut in 2015 with Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, as part of the Spectrum Now Festival, with Silvia Colloca singing the principal role. Other recent Conducting engagementsinclude Walton’s Façade, Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder. 

Luke Spicer Conductor

An acclaimed Violist and Chamber Musician, Luke Spicer is now poised to make his mark as a conductor both here and abroad. Graduating with a Mas-ters of Conducting from the Sydney Conservatorium, he has furthered his studies in Freiburg, and Manchester; and attended the Fondazione Musicale Chigiana, working under Maestro Guanluigi Gelmetti.

In 2014 he was appointed Principal Conductor of the Sydney University Symphony Orchestra, and also works regularly with Opera Australia and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Luke made his operatic debut in 2015 with Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, as part of the Spectrum Now Festival, with Silvia Colloca singing the principal role. Other recent Conducting engagementsinclude Walton’s Façade, Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, Mendelssohn’s Elijah and Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder. 

  Nick Atkins  Dramaturg  Nick is a theatre maker and producer. He is currently Producer, Q Programs for The Joan and Board Member for PACT Centre for Emerging Artists. Nick has worked as Associate Producer and Co-Artistic Director of Crack Theatre Festival, and as a teaching artist for The Joan, Shopfront Contemporary Arts, Casula Powerhouse and ATYP. He directed  Teacup in a Storm  and  Frankenstein . Nick’s play  Out of the Bars  won Gasworks Arts Park’s ‘Playtime’ initiative in 2016. He wrote and performed  A Boy & A Bean , which was awarded Best Performing Arts Event at Mardi Gras in 2014. Other productions include  Twinkle  (The Q, Seymour Centre),  Dance Hall Days , directed by Katrina Douglas (The Q), and  Unsex Me , which was part of Riverside’s ‘True West Theatre’ program.

Nick Atkins Dramaturg

Nick is a theatre maker and producer. He is currently Producer, Q Programs for The Joan and Board Member for PACT Centre for Emerging Artists. Nick has worked as Associate Producer and Co-Artistic Director of Crack Theatre Festival, and as a teaching artist for The Joan, Shopfront Contemporary Arts, Casula Powerhouse and ATYP. He directed Teacup in a Storm and Frankenstein. Nick’s play Out of the Bars won Gasworks Arts Park’s ‘Playtime’ initiative in 2016. He wrote and performed A Boy & A Bean, which was awarded Best Performing Arts Event at Mardi Gras in 2014. Other productions include Twinkle (The Q, Seymour Centre), Dance Hall Days, directed by Katrina Douglas (The Q), and Unsex Me, which was part of Riverside’s ‘True West Theatre’ program.

Cast

  Jermaine Chau  Mezzo Soprano: Kitty  Jermaine is a founding member of Blush Opera and a current Co-Artistic Director. As part of Blush Opera’s commitment to presenting original works by new composers, she has performed Paul Smith composition ‘Fancy Me Dead’ at The Hayes Theatre as part of the New Music Network Mini Series.  in 2017 Jermaine is loving having the role of Kitty written for her in Blush Opera's latest creation  Chop Chef: The Opera  by Smith & Koh.  Jermaine recently trained at the IFAC New Zealand Singing School 2017 where she worked with international coaches. A graduate of the Lisa Gasteen National Opera Summer School in Brisbane (2014), she studied opera at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (2013-2014) where she took on the role as a sassy aunt Fidalma in Cimarosa’s comic opera Il Segreto Matrimonio. She took the lead role in Menotti’s Old Maid and the Thief and has performed as Cecilia in Mark Adamo’s Little Women.  2016 was thrilling year as Jermaine made her debut at the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra Gala; performed as Lady Bertram in Operantics’ production of Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park and will again join Operantics and the Penrith Symphony Orchestra in their production of La Sonnambula as Teresa. She revelled in the gluttonous role of Suor Dolcina in Opera Projects Sydney’s Suor Angelica; La Frugola in Puccini's Il Tabarro with Constantine Costi & Luke Spicer and in November, Jermaine was part of the cast of Opera Australia’s The Eighth Wonder in the role of Madame Magda performing on the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House.  In 2017 she performed in Carmen as part of Opera Australia's production on Sydney Harbour.

Jermaine Chau Mezzo Soprano: Kitty

Jermaine is a founding member of Blush Opera and a current Co-Artistic Director. As part of Blush Opera’s commitment to presenting original works by new composers, she has performed Paul Smith composition ‘Fancy Me Dead’ at The Hayes Theatre as part of the New Music Network Mini Series.  in 2017 Jermaine is loving having the role of Kitty written for her in Blush Opera's latest creation Chop Chef: The Opera by Smith & Koh.

Jermaine recently trained at the IFAC New Zealand Singing School 2017 where she worked with international coaches. A graduate of the Lisa Gasteen National Opera Summer School in Brisbane (2014), she studied opera at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (2013-2014) where she took on the role as a sassy aunt Fidalma in Cimarosa’s comic opera Il Segreto Matrimonio. She took the lead role in Menotti’s Old Maid and the Thief and has performed as Cecilia in Mark Adamo’s Little Women.

2016 was thrilling year as Jermaine made her debut at the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra Gala; performed as Lady Bertram in Operantics’ production of Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park and will again join Operantics and the Penrith Symphony Orchestra in their production of La Sonnambula as Teresa. She revelled in the gluttonous role of Suor Dolcina in Opera Projects Sydney’s Suor Angelica; La Frugola in Puccini's Il Tabarro with Constantine Costi & Luke Spicer and in November, Jermaine was part of the cast of Opera Australia’s The Eighth Wonder in the role of Madame Magda performing on the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House.  In 2017 she performed in Carmen as part of Opera Australia's production on Sydney Harbour.

  Alex Sefton  Baritone: Tom  Alex Sefton. Alex is a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts with a bachelor of music and a diploma in classical voice. In Western Australia he performed in many music theatre, opera and oratorio productions. He has toured for two years for Opera Australia throughout NSW performing in hundreds of schools in productions of Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. He was awarded a best actor @CONDA for his performance in the title role of last year’s The Marriage of Figaro. He has performed main roles in Carmen, La Boheme, and La Traviata for Opera New England. He grew up in Newcastle and acted with many companies: 2 till 5 Theatre, Tantrum Theatre, Newcastle Theatre Company, Maitland and Hunter Youth Drama Ensemble.

Alex Sefton Baritone: Tom

Alex Sefton. Alex is a graduate of the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts with a bachelor of music and a diploma in classical voice. In Western Australia he performed in many music theatre, opera and oratorio productions. He has toured for two years for Opera Australia throughout NSW performing in hundreds of schools in productions of Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Rossini’s The Barber of Seville. He was awarded a best actor @CONDA for his performance in the title role of last year’s The Marriage of Figaro. He has performed main roles in Carmen, La Boheme, and La Traviata for Opera New England. He grew up in Newcastle and acted with many companies: 2 till 5 Theatre, Tantrum Theatre, Newcastle Theatre Company, Maitland and Hunter Youth Drama Ensemble.

Workshop Performances

2018 May // Backyard Opera (creative development) // Funded by Inner West City Council Cultural Grant

2017 August // The Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre (creative development) // The Southlands Breakthrough Award 2017

2017 March // City Recital Hall, Angel Place (creative development) // NMN Lab 2017

acknowledgments

Blush Opera are the recipient of various grants that enable Chop Chef to become a reality, enables us to adequate compensation of artists to contribute to a vibrant cultural economy. 

 NMN Lab2017 provided Blush Opera with funding to instigate a mentorship program between establish artists Omega Ensemble and Blush Opera as emerging artists. The program culminated in the first creative development workshop for Chop Chef: The Opera at City Recital Hall Angel Place.

NMN Lab2017 provided Blush Opera with funding to instigate a mentorship program between establish artists Omega Ensemble and Blush Opera as emerging artists. The program culminated in the first creative development workshop for Chop Chef: The Opera at City Recital Hall Angel Place.

       Blush Opera was the recipient of the 2017 Southland Breakthrough Award supported by Southland Shopping Centre that recognises the need for arts and culture in community life.

 

 

Blush Opera was the recipient of the 2017 Southland Breakthrough Award supported by Southland Shopping Centre that recognises the need for arts and culture in community life.

          The Penrith Performing & Visual Arts Ltd is providing in-kind support to bring this opera to life, by providing marketing, business and dramaturgical support to the opera at its embryonic stages. 

 

 

 

The Penrith Performing & Visual Arts Ltd is providing in-kind support to bring this opera to life, by providing marketing, business and dramaturgical support to the opera at its embryonic stages. 

 Inner West Council Arts Grant is supporting the creative development of this opera by providing an opportunity for it to be workshopped in the Inner West to a live audience.

Inner West Council Arts Grant is supporting the creative development of this opera by providing an opportunity for it to be workshopped in the Inner West to a live audience.

Blush Opera also acknowledges the in-kind support offered to us by companies who have made Chop Chef: The Opera a living reality.

 
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Credits

Composer Paul Smith

Librettist Julie Koh

Conductor Luke Spicer

Graphic Designer Mariko Elliot

Kitty Jermaine Chau

Victoria Zoe Drummond

Tom Alex Sefton

Andy Spencer Darby

Chamber Orchestra Omega Ensemble