Accento (Arts News)

Feast your ears on the Australian Premiere of Considering Matthew Shepard

Adelaide’s queer arts and culture festival is celebrated annually in November, Feast Festival was established in 1997 to provide an inclusive platform for the LGBTIQ community to share their art and express themselves. This year, musical director Jesse Budel will be producing the Australian Premiere of Craig Hella Johnson’s tragic yet beautiful oratorio Considering Matthew Shepard.

Considering Matthew Shepard – Australian Premiere (Jesse Budel) from Jesse Budel on Vimeo.

Considering Matthew Shepard tells the story of a young, gay student at the University of Wyoming in Laramie who, in 1998, was kidnapped, beaten, tortured, tied to a fence, and left to die alone in a field. To honour Shepard’s life, Johnson composed this concert-length work 20 years after the unimaginable event which claimed Shepard’s life.

Johnson premiered the work with Grammy-award winning choir Conspirare and now, in Budel’s proficient hands, Adelaide audiences have the chance to see it performed live with a large choir and ensemble, comprised of choristers and instrumentalists from the Adelaide Chamber Singers and Elder Conservatorium Chorale.

“Considering Matthew Shepard is at once both a sublimely beautiful and heart-wrenching tragic work, commemorating the lives of not only Matthew, but all others who have suffered at the hands of queerphobic violence.”

– Jesse Budel, musical director and producer

Budel is a South Australian composer-performer, sound artist, curator and arts entrepreneur. Born in Bordertown and raised in Murray Bridge, he recently graduated with a PhD from the Elder Conservatorium of Music, The University of Adelaide, for which he received a Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence. Other awards include a Carclew Fellowship and Helpmann Academy grants. Outside of academia, Budel is active in the Adelaide music theatre scene, recently working as musical director for the SA Premiere of Strictly Ballroom with Matt Byrne Media, and the Whyalla Players production of Beauty and the Beast.

“For us in South Australia, this is poignant with the memory of George Duncan, who was murdered in all too similar circumstances. In the 50th year since the Stonewall Uprising, I feel there is no better offering from Adelaide’s musical community to the Feast Festival program than this piece.”

– Jesse Budel, musical director and producer

Considering Matthew Shepard will be presented on Friday 15th Nov 7:30 pm and Sat 16th Nov 2.00 pm and 7:30 pm at Flinders Street Pilgrim Uniting Church, 12 Flinders Street, Adelaide. The performance run time is approximately 110 minutes without interval. Tickets are $28/$23 + BF | www.feast.org.au

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