Renowned Australian photographer Bill Henson and our resident company the Australian Chamber Orchestra go way back. In 2005, the original Luminous was born as a result of the creative and collaborative friendship between Henson and the ACO’s artistic director Richard Tognetti. Celebrating 10 years since its last performance, this refreshed collaboration will grace our Concert Hall stage accompanied by indie Israeli-Australian singer-songwriter Lior who himself is no stranger to the Sydney Opera House.
Multisensory performances combining striking visuals and beautiful sound is familiar territory for the Australian Chamber Orchestra, having presented Mountain, a cinematic exploration of the relationship between humans and mountains with film director Jennifer Peedom, at Vivid LIVE in 2017. The forces of visual and sonic stimuli combine to make true magic with the ACO.
In Luminous, Henson's imagery sets the scene for the soundscape to come, an atmospheric backdrop to envelop the audience. Both art forms interpret composition and affect heartstrings differently. The photography, haunting and emotive — juxtaposing urban night scenes with elegant and moody portraiture, both reminscent of the Flemish masters of painting in their use of tone, light and glow. Moments of adolescence and inquiry; industrial night skies, all tableaux of modern life presented in the dream world.
Then the music. These hallmarks of Henson's oeuvre will sparkle and stir on stage behind the kaleidoscopic and historically infused musical programme. An aria by Henry Purcell features alongside R.E.M’s ‘I’ve Been High’; Lior will take on Benjamin Britten’s ‘Corpus Christi’, most famously interpreted by Jeff Buckley on Grace; Czech composer Janáček’s work follows the modern Latvian Peteris Vasks’ famed ‘Distant Light’ Concerto for Violin and Strings. A piece from composer Gabriel Yared’s soundtrack to The Talented Mr Ripley is another highlight. Sound sculptor Paul Healy's work is the woven link between all, reflecting and informing both visuals and sound throughout the cross-genre performance which adds up to so much more than the sum of its parts.