Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace is returning to Hamer Hall this October
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11.09.2023

Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace is returning to Hamer Hall this October

Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO’s powerful requiem for peace returns to Hamer Hall to give voice to the Gunditjmara People on the historic occasion of Australia’s constitutional referendum.

As the votes are being tallied in the constitutional referendum to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament, acclaimed Yorta Yorta soprano and composer Deborah Cheetham Fraillon AO and members of the Dhungala Children’s Choir – the peak choral performance group for Indigenous children in Victoria – will take to the Hamer Hall stage with the full force of the
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, MSO Chorus and Consort of Melbourne for a timely encore of the powerful 2019 concert, Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace.

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Written and composed by Cheetham Fraillon and sung entirely in the ancient dialects of the Gunditjmara people, Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace brings into focus a dark period of Australia’s colonial history that is yet to be fully reconciled.

Its story harks back to the mid 19th century and a battleground southwest of Melbourne that remains haunted with the memory of war and loss from one of the most brutal resistance wars fought on this continent.

Cheetham Fraillon says the scars of the Eumeralla Resistance War (1840 – 1863) lie heavily upon the country.

“Eumeralla, a war requiem for peace has broken the silence of so many decades and serves to amplify the importance of our nation’s shared history. It is my hope that this requiem will help the spirits of those who fell to find a lasting peace and that we, their descendants, might find our way to deeper understanding of the legacy of these battles.”

Conductor Benjamin Northey will lead the MSO, with mezzo-soprano Linda Barcan, baritone Jud Arthur adding their voices to this sobering requiem.

“Eumeralla was without question one of the great highlights of the MSO 2019 season,” says Northey.

“Deborah Cheetham has reached out to all Australians with compassion and love through this deeply profound and moving work. Everyone should experience the extraordinary war requiem for peace to further understand the importance of our reconciliation journey.”

Cheetham Fraillon, who is also the MSO First Nations Creative Chair, acknowledges the coincidence of an important piece of Australian programming being performed on such an historic date.

“Although the performance date for Eumeralla was selected more than a year ago, the alignment with the Voice referendum offers our MSO community an opportunity to come together and – hopefully – celebrate a momentous occasion for our nation.”

For the latest event and ticking information, head here.