Women in War - Contemporary Opera Director’s Statement


When Tassos offered me the job to direct his contemporary opera, I thought I couldn’t possibly do it. I’ve spent the last twenty years working in cinema of social realism, and most recently, in theatre, opera has just never been a consideration. But Tassos was adamant and I thank him for that. Opera to me is precious, specialized, and as I’m discovering now, actually, not for the faint-hearted. I’ll be approaching it as I would any drama, though, and looking to breathe naturalism into the performances. "Women In War" is an imaginary account of the Gallipoli campaign as experienced by three different women. It’s a unique project that’s already garnering interest and excitement. It’s not a cry for anti-war sentiment, nor is it an heroic depiction of the battlefield. It is about how, despite the atrocities of war, we can find some sort of reconciliation and hope. It comes from the passion of its composer and from the heart of its librettist to be performed in ancient amphitheaters and proscenium theatres across three continents. It will be challenging to stage, demanding on its singers and inspiring for all of us to work on. Three women. Three cultures. One voice. It’s going to be powerful stuff.

- Alkinos Tsilimidos

Biographical Note:

Alkinos Tsilimidos - Director

Born in Melbourne, Australia 1966. Alkinos has been described as one of Australia’s most important contemporary film directors. He has a reputation for being an actor’s director and is renowned for his uncompromising approach to stories of social relevance. He graduated from Swinburne School of Film and Television (now VCA) in 1988. His début feature film, Everynight…Everynight (1994) won international critical acclaim. It was awarded Best First Film (Prix D’Montreal) at the Montreal World Film Festival and was in Official Selection at the Venice International Film Festival. The film received two AFI nominations, including Best Director.

His second feature, Silent Partner (2001) was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the AFI and Film Critics Circle Awards and was in Official Selection at Toronto, Montreal, Newport, US Arts Comedy, Athens, Singapore and Bangkok film festivals. In 2004, Tom White was released to extensive critical acclaim. It received thirty-one Australian feature film award nominations, Colin Friels winning the FCCA and the IF Award for Best Actor. Tom White was invited to participate at many international film festivals including Montreal, Hof, Busan and Chennai. Em4Jay (2006), his fourth feature, participated at Melbourne, Brisbane, Athens, Mostra De Valencia – Spain and New Zealand film festivals. Variety said: “Authenticity makes Em4Jay a Down Under low budget TRIUMPH.” In 2010, Blind Company was released nationally after a successful international film festival campaign, including Montreal and Las Palmas. Larry Clark (Kids, Bully, Ken Park) said: “This is film at its best. A must see”.

Alkinos made his theatrical debut with John Logan’s Red for the Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) in 2012. His production received major accolades, Colin Friels winning the Green Room Award for Best Male Actor for his portrayal of Mark Rothko. The show has since been reprised for the Queensland Theatre Company. Alkinos directed 'The Mountaintop' for the MTC as well as the Pulitzer Prize winning Glengarry Glen Ross for their 2014 season.

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