The dawn

Morton, Graeme, Leek, Stephen, Plush, Vincent and Noonan, Maggie (2008) The dawn. Indooroopilly, QLD, Australia, St Peters Lutheran College.

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Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads
Author Morton, Graeme
Leek, Stephen
Plush, Vincent
Noonan, Maggie
Title The dawn
Place of publication Indooroopilly, QLD, Australia
Publisher St Peters Lutheran College
Publication date 2008-05-29
Series The Year 8 Production
Total pages 2 Musical performances
Language eng
Subject Live Performance of Creative Work - Music
Formatted Abstract/Summary
Commissioned by Graeme Morton for the Year 8 students of St Peters Lutheran College. The aims of this project included to teach significant aspects of Australian culture and history through the arts and develop the genre of opera for young people.

In spite of our great tradition of opera, the genre of young people’s opera, well established overseas, is an area of significant neglect with Australia. This commission provided the opportunity for Australian composer, Stephen Leek and librettist Vincent Plush to work directly with the young performers. 

This childrens’ opera explores the social and historical context of Louisa Lawson, mother of Henry Lawson, a significant social activist and early feminist in Australian history.

The Dawn was the title of an original work by self-professed ‘history buff’ composer Vincent Plush, and composer, conductor Stephen Leek. Taking the form of a large scale music drama the work was commissioned for performance by Year 8 students attending St. Peters Lutheran College, Brisbane and was performed in the St. Peters Chapel on the 29th and 30th May under the direction of Bruce Clark, a full-time English teacher at the school. Producer Christine Taylor informs that the work was intended to be relevant and approachable to 12 to 13 year old students and that it “should be based on a local or national topic with links to the present day”. In fact The Dawn has to do with Louisa Lawson , mother of poet Henry Lawson, and the struggle of the suffragette movement and women’s right to vote. A cast of some sixty young students were supported by an instrumental ensemble of violin, cello, flute, clarinet, French horn, trumpet, trombone, percussion and piano. In keeping with their philosophy of connecting students with “models of artistic excellence” St. Peters engaged opera singer Maggie Noonan to join the cast and to take the lead role of Louisa Lawson, suffragist, feminist and editor of Australia’s first newspaper for women, The Dawn. The work concludes with a quote by Louisa Lawson “Let us look to the day when regardless of colour or creed, age or aspiration, women fill the highest offices of the land when a woman takes the oath of Prime Minister before a woman head-of-state”.

2 performances: 29 - 30 May 2008.
Keyword Opera
Australian opera
Middle school

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Created: Tue, 20 Dec 2011, 21:38:11 EST by Graeme Morton on behalf of School of Music