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Sunday 21 March 2021, 5.00pm

Sidney Myer Music Bowl

Zelman Symphony, Arts Centre Melbourne and the Wheeler Centre present

No Friend but the Mountains: A Symphonic Song Cycle

Featuring soloist Bass Baritone Adrian Tamburini with the Zelman Symphony Orchestra and Melbourne Bach Choir conducted by Rick Prakhoff, this world premiere will illuminate a part of Australia’s story the public was not meant to see.

Thumbed on a phone, smuggled out in thousands of text messages. The near impossibility of its existence. On Nauru and Manus Island, they live in a zoo of cruelty.

No Friend but the Mountains, Behrouz Boochani's multi-award winning book which chronicles his perilous journey as an asylum seeker and his forced detention on Manus Island, is the inspiration for this Symphonic Song Cycle by prolific Australian composer, Luke Styles.

Boochani, a Kurdish-Iranian journalist, writer and film-maker, penned his book in secret in Farsi on a mobile phone as a series of hundreds of text messages. He opened up the hidden world of detention, shone a light on the conditions endured by detainees on Manus and exposed a brutal system ostensibly designed to deter other asylum seekers while breaking those caught in it.

To open the event, Behrouz Boochani will appear in conversation via video reflecting on this new adaptation of his story.

Luke Styles' first Australian opera Ned Kelly premiered to critical acclaim at the 2019 Perth Festival and his song cycle On Bunyah premiered at Wigmore Hall, London.

Rick Prakhoff - conductor
Adrian Tamburini - bass-baritone
Melbourne Bach Choir

Wilma Smith - Guest Concertmaster
Susan Pierotti - Concertmaster


Behrouz Boochani – Interview
Luke Styles - No Friend but the Mountains: A Symphonic Song Cycle

Book Now

Online Arts Centre Melbourne
or telephone 1300 182 183

Venue & Refreshments

The Music bowl is being transformed into a COVID-safe venue with space for an audience of 2,500 people, not the usual 10,000. There will be hundreds of "Lawn Decks" up the slope each with chairs for four or six people as well as large decks in the stalls under the canopy where there will be cabaret style tables each with two or four chairs. The elevated balconies on each side of the stalls will house people socially distanced.

Ticket prices range from $30 to $65 (plus booking fee). However, “Lawn Decks” and “Stalls Tables” will only be available for groups of two, four or six people who know each other and are willing to share their deck or table. See Arts Centre Melbourne's website for more details.

You can take a picnic or purchase hampers, food and drinks. But don't take a chair or rug.

Principal Partner

Maestro Partners

Symphony Partners

Event Partners

Individual Donors

Suzanne Maple-Brown
Kay Ronec
Katrina and Simon Holmes à Court

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Page last modified on March 05, 2022, at 10:49 AM