Koolbardi wer Wardong - West Australian Opera and Wesfarmers Arts Commission

Wesfarmers  COVID-19 support for our arts partners was the provision of funds to West Australian Opera in to commission a Nyoongar opera for young people.

Of national significance as Australia’s first Indigenous language opera, Koolbardi wer Wardong, by respected musicians and songwriters Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, will be performed in Noongar and tells how the koolbardi (magpie) and the wardong (crow) became the birds we see today.

Chris Van Tuinen, Rob Scott, Gina Williams, Carolyn Chard  Guy Ghouse photographed at His Majesty‚Äôs Theatre“We were excited to start work and to partner with West Australian Opera on this project, dreaming up a production that celebrates strong cultural elements of language, song and narrative. We are especially keen to work with young people on this project, as this has great potential to be an important legacy work. Opera is a powerful way to do this, as many traditional stories from other cultures have been told and passed on for generations. We are will present a story that is 3000 generations old, is uniquely West Australian, and will be passed on for many generations to come.” Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse.

The commission will premiere in September 2021 as a centrepiece of West Australian Opera’s post-COVID 'resilience' program with a season at His Majesty’s Theatre followed by a West Australian regional tour.

Left to right: West Australian Opera Artistic Director, Chris Van Tuinen with Wesfarmers Managing Director Rob Scott, musician Gina Williams, West Australian Opera Executive Director Carolyn Chard and musician Guy Ghouse photographed at His Majesty’s Theatre.