For one night only, Leonard Cohen’s ‘Book of Longing’ is in Melbourne

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For one night only, Leonard Cohen’s ‘Book of Longing’ is in Melbourne

Book of Longing
words by sidonie bird de la coeur

A multidimensional performance that combines opera with poetry, images and text, 'Book of Longing' is being performed at Federation Square on May 13.

An intensely personal work, Book of Longing is an intimate piece that encompasses the friendship of legendary musicians in their own rights – Leonard Cohen and Philip Glass. Adapted by Glass from Leonard Cohen’s 2006 poetry collection Book of Longing into a contemporary opera, this is a unique opportunity to see a rarely performed composition. It’s being performed for one night only at The Edge in Federation Square.

What you need to know

  • The Australian Contemporary Opera Company is presenting Book of Longing – an adaptation of Leonard Cohen’s poetry
  • Book of Longing was composed by Philip Glass and combines opera with poetry, images and text
  • The performance takes place at The Edge in Federation Square, on Friday May 13 at 8pm

Keep up to date with Melbourne’s latest art events, exhibitions and performances here.

Featuring the renowned singer Richard Piper as the voice of Leonard Cohen, Book of Longing seeks to encapsulate the mood of the legendary singer’s poetic works. Piper, who has appeared in over 80 productions, 40 of which were as part of the Melbourne Theatre Company, including Pirates of the Caribbean and Come From Away, brings Leonard Cohen’s iconic vocal tone to his performance without delving into straight imitation. His voice will be accompanied by four singers and eight instrumentalists to bring Leonard Cohen’s drawings and paintings to life.


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Book of Longing is presented in collaboration with the Australian Contemporary Opera Company and the performance is conducted by Carlo Antonioli, the Cybec Assistant Conductor of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. This multi-dimensional performance is being directed by Linda Thompson and features soprano Emily Burke, mezzo Dimity Shepherd, tenor Martin Buckingham and baritone Christopher Tonkin.

The opera composed by minimalist, contemporary classical composer Philip Glass will be appearing at The Edge in Federation Square for one night only.

For more information, or to book your tickets, head here.