Formed in 1988 by theatre director and librettist Douglas Horton, it is Australia's only full-time company exclusively devoted to the commissioning and presentation of contemporary chamber opera by living artists. After taking up the artistic directorship in 2010, David Young commissioned and presented twelve new Australian operas, many of which were created as part of the company's "Living Room Opera" series. In 2013, Tim Stitz was appointed as Creative Director, leading a new company model consisting of four Artistic Associates.
Chamber Made Opera works with established artists and emerging professionals. The company also engages performers from different disciplines and non-traditional music and performance backgrounds. Their productions are highly interdisciplinary, incorporating sophisticated composition and experimental performance practice.
The company has forged partnerships with Punctum, Limerick City of Culture, In Between Time Festival, Arts Centre Melbourne, RMIT University, La Mama Theatre, Aphids, Speak Percussion, Melbourne Recital Centre, the Victorian Opera, the Victorian Writers' Centre, The Wheeler Centre, Fed Square, Bell Shakespeare, Rawcus, Malthouse Theatre, New Music Network, and the Australian Music Centre.
Chamber Made Opera was founded in 1988 by Artistic Director Douglas Horton and General Manager Stephen Armstrong. The company quickly established itself as a force in the Australian arts industry, presenting many acclaimed works (see below for list of productions), winning awards, and touring nationally and internationally. Douglas Horton stepped down as Artistic Director in March 2009, after 21 years.
In 2010 composer David Young was appointed the role of Artistic Director, a position he held until December 2013. Young lead the company through a period of rejuvenation and transformation, pioneering the innovative Living Room Opera series (see below).
In early 2013 CMO announced a new company structure would be installed following the departure of David Young, headed by new Creative Director Tim Stitz, who appointed a team of four Artistic Associates to join him in the next phase of the company's life.
In 2014 Chamber Made Opera's staff are: Creative Director / CEO Tim Stitz; Artistic Associate Sarah Kriegler; Artistic Associate Tamara Saulwick; Artistic Associate Christie Stott; Artistic Associate Erkki Veltheim; Program Coordinator Imbi Neeme; Finance Officer: Sally Goldner; Emerging Writer in Residence Patrick McCarthy; Emerging Artist in Residence Aviva Endean.
Past staff include General Manager Robina Burton, Resident Director Margaret Cameron, Resident Conductor Brett Kelly, Caroline Lee, and the late Jacqui Everitt, designer.
Only first productions are listed
- 1988 The Heiress, music: Donald Hollier, text after Henry James' novel Washington Square
- 1989 Recital, music: David Chesworth, Puccini, Mozart et al., text: Douglas Horton and Helen Noonan
- 1990 The Fall of the House of Usher, music: Philip Glass, text: Arthur Yorinks after Edgar Allan Poe
- 1991 Greek, music: Mark-Anthony Turnage, text: Steven Berkoff
- 1991 Sweet Death, music: Andree Greenwell, text: Abe Pogos after Claude Tardat
- 1992 The Cars That Ate Paris, musical improvisation, text by Douglas Horton after Peter Weir
- 1992 Lacuna, music: David Chesworth, text: Douglas Horton
- 1993 Improvement: Don Leaves Linda, music & text: Robert Ashley
- 1993 Medea, music: Gordon Kerry, text: Justin Macdonnell after Seneca
- 1994 The Two Executioners, music: David Chesworth, text: Douglas Horton after Fernando Arrabal's Les Deux Bourreaux
- 1995 Tresno, music & text: Jacqui Rutten
- 1995 The Burrow, music: Michael Smetanin, text: Alison Croggon
- 1997 Wide Sargasso Sea, music: Brian Howard, text Brian Howard after Jean Rhys
- 1997 Fresh Ghosts, music: Julian Yu, text: Glenn Perry after Lu Xun
- 1998 Dr Forbes Will See You Now, music: Stephen Ingham, text: Douglas Horton
- 1998 Matricide – The Musical, music: Elena Kats-Chernin, text: Kathleen Mary Fallon
- 1999 Eight Songs For A Mad King, music: Peter Maxwell Davies, text: Randolph Stow
- 2000 Gauguin (a synthetic life), music: Michael Smetanin, text: Alison Croggon
- 2000 Teorema, music: Giorgio Battistelli, scenario after Pier Paolo Pasolini
- 2002 Slow Love, music: Stevie Wishart, text: Richard Murphett
- 2002 Motherland, music: Dominique Probst, text: Le Quy Duong
- 2003 The Possessed, music: Julian Yu, text: Glenn Perry
- 2003 Phobia, music: Gerard Brophy, text: Douglas Horton, in homage to Alfred Hitchcock
- 2003 Walkabout, music & text: Richard Frankland after Nicolas Roeg
- 2004 The Charcoal Club (aka Burning Embers), music & text: Richard Frankland
- 2006 Corruption, music: Sasha Stella, text: Ania Walwicz after Elisa Evers
- 2006 The Hive, music: Nicholas Vines, text: Sam Sejavka
- 2007 Crossing Live, music: Bryony Marks, text: Matt Saville
- 2008 The Children's Bach, music: Andrew Schultz, text: Glenn Perry based on Helen Garner's novella
- 2010 Another Lament, music: Ida Duelund Hansen
- 2010 The Itch, music Alex Garsden
- 2010 Exile, the world's first iPad opera, music Helen Gifford
- 2011 Minotaur: The Island, music David Young, text Margaret Cameron
- 2011 Dwelling Structure, by Madeleine Flynn and Tim Humphrey, libretto Cynthia Troup
- 2011 Ophelia Doesn't Live Here Anymore, music Darrin Verhagen, director Daniel Schlusser
- 2012 The Box, by Fritz Hauser with Boa Baumann, libretto Willoh S. Weiland
- 2012 PM – An incidental video opera, by Peter Lambropoulos
- 2012 The Minotaur Trilogy, music David Young, text Margaret Cameron
- 2013 Turbulence, music Juliana Hodkinson, libretto Cynthia Troup
- 2013 Opera – therapea, by David Young, Margaret Cameron, Hellen Sky, Deborah Kayser, Jane Refshuage
- 2013 Between Lands and Longings, by Zierle & Carter
- 2013 Opera for a small mammal, written and performed by Margaret Cameron
- 2014 "Wake", Conceived by Maeve Stone and John Rodgers, Composed by Tom Lane
- 2014 "Another Other", created and performed by Erkki Veltheim, Sabina Maselli, Natasha Anderson, and Anthony Pateras.
- 1992 Myer Group Arts Award – Chamber Made Opera
- 1994 The Age Performing Arts Awards – Most Outstanding Fringe Performance – The Two Executioners
- 1995 A Creative Artist Fellowship [aka a 'Keating', after the then Prime Minister, Mr Paul Keating] - AD/CEO Douglas Horton, for services to contemporary Australian opera
- 2002 Green Room Awards – Best New Score: Slow Love
- 2002 Green Room Awards – Best Lighting Design: Motherland
- 2006 Green Room Awards – Best Production: The Hive
- 2007 Helpmann Awards – Best Direction of an Opera: Douglas Horton for The Hive
- 2007 Green Room Awards – Best New Australian Work: Crossing Live, Best Performance-New Form: Luke Elliott in Crossing Live
- 2013 Art Music Awards – Victorian State Award for The Minotaur Trilogy (and their Living Room Opera Series) in the Excellence by an Organisation category
- 2001 Wicked Voice includes excerpts from Lacuna and The Two Executioners (Chesworth/Horton), ABC Classics
- 2007 Medea (Kerry/Macdonnell), ABC Classics
- 2012 Another Lament (Ida Duelund), Chamber Made Opera Records
- 2013 Winterreise (Ida Duelund), Chamber Made Opera Records
- 2013 The Minotaur Trilogy box set, Chamber Made Opera Records
Living Room Operas
The Living Room Opera Series involved artists and musicians from a range of styles and backgrounds. This series aimed to give the audience new, chamber operas in close proximity.
In 2010 new works by composer Alex Garsden, Rawcus Theatre Company, and the Quiver Ensemble were commissioned and presented in a range of domestic settings with investment by individual donors. The Series represents a mobile and scalable model with support from private philanthropy.
Productions that featured in the series were The Itch (2010), Another Lament (2010), Dwelling Structure (2011), Ophelia Doesn't Live Here Anymore (2011), Minotaur The Island (2011), The Box (2012), PM An incidental Video Opera (2012), Between Lands and Longings (2013), Turbulence (2013), and Wake (2014).
Since 2012 CMO has partnered with the Kensington Adventure Playground (The Venny), to deliver a community outreach program for young people. Each year the company enables professional artists to work with the children and staff of The Venny to develop and present a creative project exploring the children's interests and teaching them creative skills whilst building a sense of fortitude and community.
- Edgar, Ray (9 March 2012). "Shadow boxing with audio architecture". The Age. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- Gruber, Fiona (19 November 2010). "Pull up the lounge for a night of opera". The Australian. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- "Douglas Horton to step down from Chambermade". Australian Stage. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- Gallasch, Keith. "new director, new opera". RealTime. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- Ophelia Doesn't Live Here Anymore review by Alison Croggon, Theatre Notes, 28 November 2011
- "Nicholas Vines : Represented Artist Profile". Australian Music Centre. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
- "2007 Helpmann Award Winners ", australianstage.com.au, 7 August 2007
- "2007 Nominations and Recipients". Greenroom.org.au. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
- Gallasch, Keith. "from the living room into the world". RealTime Arts. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- Power, Liza (17 December 2011). "Living room librettos". The Age. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
- Furhmann, Andrew. "This is the future of Australian Opera". Arts Hub. Retrieved 31 May 2012.