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Songs of Belonging

March 28, 2019 @ 7:00 pm

The ancient song-line of Australia’s Indigenous people is brought to life by acclaimed Soprano, Composerand Artistic Director of Short Black Opera Deborah Cheetham, through a unique narrative recital and powerful commentary which focuses on themes of belonging and human rights.

Australian Consulate-General, Mumbai, Furtados, Royal Opera House, Mumbai and Avid Learning Present Songs of Belonging– A special operatic performance featuring admired Australian and Indian artistes, where indigenous aboriginal music comes together with classical western and contemporary Australian sounds along with Indian percussion.

The description of the performance is as below:

This unique performance will be led by Cheethamwho will be accompanied byPianist Toni Lalich, as she shares her unique life story and traces the journey she has embarked on to discover her sense of belonging. Deborah has been touring internationally for 25 years and this performance marks her Indian debut.

Together with the music of legendary European composers such as Puccini, Catalani, Cilea, Dvorák, Strauss and Vaughn Williams, Cheetham will also be joined on stage by Tabla Master Pandit Sengupta and Contemporary Art Music Ensemble Rubiks Collective – one of Australia’s most exciting new music ensembles, for the premiere of her latest composition Article 27, based on the 27tharticle of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and translated into the ancient language of the Pintubi people to create an evocative musical piece.

This production is presented as a part of Australia Fest, a festival celebrating Australia’s cultural diversity, creativity, and dynamism through major events across India.

Join us for an exclusive evening featuring one of Australia’s most admired performers!

Where: Royal Opera House, Mama Parmanand Marg, Mumbai – 400 004

When: Thursday, 28thMarch 2019 | 7:00 PM – 7:30 PM – Registrations | 7:30 PM – 8:45 PM – Performance

Tickets | Box Office: 022-23668888

About the Artistes

Deborah Cheetham, Yorta Yorta woman, soprano, composer and educator has been a leader in the Australian arts landscape for more than 25 years. In the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Deborah was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), for distinguished service to the performing arts as an opera singer, composer and artistic director, to the development of Indigenous artists, and to innovation in performance. Short Black Opera Café, Death Scenes and Drama Queens and ‘Til The Black Lady Sings were early successes for Deborah Cheetham combinging her talents as a writer, performer and entrepreneur. ‘Til the Black Lady Sings has toured to London, New York, Eastern Europe and around Australia for almost a decade. Deborah’s early career was shaped by an opportunity to study in New York with vocal coaches and repetiteurs from the Metropolitan Opera and Julliard School of Music. Upon returning to Australia, Deborah created her first major work, the critically acclaimed White Baptist Abba Fan and toured extensively with this show for the next five years. The success of Pecan Summer led to the creation of Short Black Opera Company, a national not-for-profit opera company devoted to the discovery and development of Indigenous opera singers. As Artistic Director of Short Black Opera Company Deborah Cheetham has assisted many Indigenous singers to find their voice through the powerful medium of opera. Successive seasons of Pecan Summer have included performances at the Melbourne Arts Centre (Melbourne 2011), WA State Theatre Centre (Perth 2012) and Her Majesty’s Theatre (Adelaide 2014) and the award winning Sydney Opera House production in 2016.In March 2015 Ms Cheetham was inducted onto the Victorian Honour Roll of Women.

 Toni Lalich is one of Australia’s most experienced accompanists, working with singers and instrumentalists in Melbourne for the past 25 years. She has performed in premiere venues in Europe, the UK and throughout Australia.

Toni is a founding director of Australia’s national Indigenous opera company Short Black Opera with her partner, Yorta Yorta soprano and composer Deborah Cheetham AO. Toni has been vocal coach and company manager for Short Black Opera since 2011 and has been instrumental in the company’s five seasons of Deborah’s opera Pecan Summer, most notably at the Sydney Opera House in 2016.

In 2018 Toni performed the world premiere performance of Deborah Cheetham’s Woven Song Catching Breath a chamber work for Piano Quintet and SATB voices, at the in the Esplanade Recital Hall Singapore.

Rubiks is one of Melbourne’s most dynamic contemporary art music ensembles, bringing together some of Australia’s most exciting and versatile young performers. With a particular interest in storytelling and cross-art collaboration, Rubiks has quickly established a reputation for excellence, delighting audiences with their unique programming and dazzling virtuosity. Rubiks have performed as featured artists in the Metropolis New Music Festival (Melbourne), City Recital Hall’s Extended Play Festival (Sydney) and regularly appear as a resident ensemble in Melbourne Recital Centre’s acclaimed chamber music series. Rubiks recently made their international debut, performing throughout Germany, England and the Netherlands. In 2017, Rubiks launched The Pythia Prize, an annual commission project that sees an Australian female composer collaborate with Rubiks to create a new work.

Pandit Ashis Sengupta is a dynamic and versatile Tabla player who belongs to the Banaras gharana. He received his initial training from his father, Shri Ranjit Kumar Sengupta and was later trained by Pandit Nanku Maharaj and Pandit Mahapurush Mishra. His aesthetic perception of the Tabla has enabled him to reach profound depth of this instrument and express a range of emotions. Apart from playing Tabla, he has composed Bhajans and music arrangement for the light-classical music, which have been recorded by many reputed companies. Pandit Ashis Has travelled extensively all over India and abroad for his performances, workshops and lectures. He has also participated in festival in Moscow, Germany, France, Holland UK, USA and Canada. He is also a recipient of the Senior Fellowship award from the Ministry of Culture, Government of India and Taalmani award for being an outstanding artist and has also written two books on the Tabla and several articles on music.


March 28, 2019
7:00 pm
Event Category:


Royal Opera House, Mumbai
Mumbai, India