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ACOCo commissions a brand new Australian opera in two acts by composer William Barton.
World Premiere 2024/2025


We are crafting a compelling, beautiful and thought-provoking work of operatic story-telling - facing uncomfortable truths, offering healing and hope - a legacy for our time.

A fictionalised account of the lead up and aftermath of THE INCIDENT with Adam Goodes and a young spectator at the MCG in 2013, the two-act opera has equal representation of Australia's Indigenous and non-Indigenous professional performers on stage, and within the creative team.

"We shall overcome our differences as we share in the tears of reconciliation, acknowledging our human faults - but being uplifted by knowing we do care for one another as we strive to create a path that not only ensures a better future for our own children, but for others on the opposite end of the field."

- William Barton, didgeridoo virtuoso, celebrated composer and cross-genre collaborator



A new USA-AUS co-production with Monk Parrots (NYC)

Blond Woman

DON JEFFREY is a reworking of a story audiences have cheered and celebrated since c. 1630.  A legendary, fictional libertine who devotes his life to seducing and abusing women. No musical version is more beloved than Mozart and Da Ponte's opera Don Giovanni, which employs a cast of characters ranging from enablers to victims. If, as is claimed, art mirrors society and changes lives, the repeated success of the opera Don Giovanni over 2 ½ centuries does not bear that out.

Following the recent conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell, accomplice to Jeffrey Epstein in the procurement of young women for sexual exploitation, we give Mozart's sublime melodies and harmonies another layer of narrative - all the more sinister, familiar and terrible as the women who are misled and mistreated on stage, and some of the alleged perpetrators, are recognisable to us - they live amongst us. How can we appreciate a composition of such beauty and emotion, which tells a tale of devastating abuse? How can shaming be amusing? Why is criminal behaviour repeatedly overlooked?

MONK PARROTS, led by artistic director Luke Leonard and based in NYC, is ACOCo's principal international collaborator, having worked worked with us on David Lang & Mac Wellman's The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, a reimagining of Verdi's Macbeth arr. by US composer Peter Stopchinski, and David Lang's love fail - a remote digital collaboration for both ACOCo's 2020 online Festival, and live performance at Fed Square in 2021.

"Our DON JEFFREY is bound to ruffle feathers - a retelling of a beloved story through an uncomfortable contemporary lens.  This is not some story stuck in the past; a rollocking tale of 'bad behaviour' absolved by sublime music.  Acts of depravity brushed off as 'historical', and therefore 'not real'.

This story is - and has always been - shockingly contemporary.  A 300-year history of repeated performance has shown that a story, music, theatre or opera hasn't changed attitudes.  The music is not a mindless entertainment - it is a tale of systematic societal enabling of abuse of power, and glorification of depravity - at heart it is a centuries-old accusation of those who see and choose to look the other way."

- Linda Thompson


Discovering new Australian stories and voices


FIRST TAKE AUSTRALIA is modeled on the format American opera and theater director and artistic director of The Industry, YUVAL SHARON created, as Project Director of New York City Opera’s influential VOX program between 2005-09, to discover and encourage new works. Since 2013, THE INDUSTRY and WILD UP have presented a biennial West Coast workshop of new American operas designed to "give audiences a taste of the wide range of ideas in opera today". The inaugural FIRST TAKE took place at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.


FIRST TAKE AUSTRALIA is in development, with a view to calling for submissions of existing vocal works from Australian composers in late 2023. Our Advisory Panel will select composers/projects to work with ACOCo to create, develop and produce opera-music theatre prototypes, presented biannually in a public workshop.


With other appointments in the pipeline, the inaugural ACOCo First Take Australia Advisory Panel includes Professor Stuart Greenbaum. Composer/Head of Composition at UniMelb

Dr Caitlin Vincent, Librettist/Lecturer in Creative Industries UniMelb

Daniel Szesiong Todd, Performer/Teacher/Writer

Convened by Linda Thompson, Artistic/Stage Director/Performer


Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.


- President Barack Obama

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