Opera Australia has started work on an opera based on the life of Julian Assange – with the Wikileaks founder’s blessing
There has already been a play, a (disowned) autobiography, and some might argue that the real-life extradition drama is quite enough – but now work has begun on an opera based on the life of Julian Assange in Melbourne.
Opera Australia held – with Assange’s approval – a series of in-house workshops last month, six months after its artistic director Lyndon Terracini came up with the idea and asked composer Jonathan Dreyfus to write the music.
Terracini told the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC): “He is an incredible character and it is an exciting idea.” He continued: “What they came up with was really terrific. What’s great is that it speaks to a younger audience.”
Eddie Perfect, who played Assange in the initial process, told ABC News, “It’s got everything that a dramatic musical work needs. It’s got heroes and villains. In fact, it’s got a hero and villain combined in one.”
In 2008, Perfect played Australian cricketer Shane Warne in another “biopicera”. Comparing the two roles, Perfect told the Independent: “Assange is a greater challenge because his personality is filtered through the media and we rarely see the ‘human’ side. He’s also more subdued … Warney is all exterior and rarely self-reflective. Assange is all interior.”
The company has not yet committed to a full production, but if the opera goes ahead it will be the second time the Wikileaks story has been presented on stage in Assange’s native Australia. Stainless Steel Rat by award-winning Australian playwright Ron Elisha played at the Seymour Centre in Sydney last June.