Backstage with Marcus Corowa at Opera Australia’s production of The Rabbit

Marcus Corowa The Rabbit

If you missed Marcus Corowa in in Opera Australia’s production of The Rabbit. make sure you visit his Facebook Page to see behind the scenes photos and more.

The Rabbit is a new Australian opera, with a diverse ensemble of performers from opera, theatre and contemporary music along side Australian songstress Kate Miller-Heidke. Together they form the cast and creative team of The Rabbits – a new Australian opera co-produced by Opera Australia and Barking Gecko Theatre Company. After a number of years of creative development, The Rabbit just made its world premiere at Perth International Arts Festival this month, with a subsequent season at Melbourne Festival from 9 October.

The cast includes (among others) well known TV and theatre performer Hollie Andrew (Fat Tony & Co, Somersault, The Sapphires); Deadly-Award winning singer Marcus Corowra (Sydney Festival, Corroboree Festival); singer and actor David Leha aka Radical Son (Sydney Festival, Dreaming Festival; CD “Cause’n Affect”). Lisa Maza (The Sapphires, Dirt Song – Black Arm Band, Sisters of Gelam) and opera singers Kanen Breen (The Magic Flute, Partenope), Chris Hillier (Don Giovanni, Carmen) and Robert Mitchell, a veteran of Opera Australia who has sung in around 5,000 performances of around 120 operas in his 42 years with the company.

The cast is led by award-winning singer songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke. Her latest album, O Vertigo!, debuted at number 4 on the ARIA charts, broke Australian crowdfunding records and was nominated for an ARIA award. Trained as a classical singer at the Queensland Conservatorium, Kate recently appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer. She has performed several roles for the English National Opera, and in Jerry Springer The Opera at the Sydney Opera House. The Rabbits is her debut opera as a composer. Working closely with Kate is Adaptor and Director, John Sheedy

Lyndon Terracini, Artistic Director of Opera Australia says “Today when everyone came together for the first time in The Rabbits rehearsal room, I felt very proud that our idea of a new Australian opera that stretches the boundaries of ‘opera’, is at last coming to fruition. It’s unusual to have such an eclectic ensemble of performers in one piece, but this is a very unusual piece that offers the possibility of blending disciplines and performance styles in a very exciting way. The Rabbits will break new ground in bringing together elements of opera, contemporary music and theatre, and it’s wonderful to see a diverse cast forming.

“Kate Miller-Heidke is an outstanding talent and as both composer and performer for the show, is a terrific leader for the show. I am sure The Rabbits is going to be an unforgettable project for everyone involved, and one to be very proud of. We’re grateful to Barking Gecko for joining us in this venture as co-producers, and to the Perth and Melbourne Festivals for presenting the piece. We hope to bring it to Sydney audiences soon also. I encourage every Australian to try and get the chance to see this show!”

The Rabbits is being brought to life with a contemporary yet ethereal score composed by Kate Miller-Heidke and Iain Grandage. Kate will also perform the lead role. Designer Gabriela Tylesova is creating kooky sets and costumes which realise Tan’s pictures in all their mystical wonder, while Lally Katz has turned Marsden’s poetic words into an enchanting libretto.

The original and truly Australian story of The Rabbits is born out of the haunting picture book by John Marsden and Shaun Tan.

The Rabbits is a story for Australians of all ages: an allegory of Australia’s settlement set in a landscape of larger-than-life machines and mystical birds. This work promises to be a milestone work of theatre, and a delight for the whole family.


An Opera Australia and Barking Gecko Theatre Company co-production. In association with West Australian Opera. Commissioned by Perth International Arts Festival and Melbourne Festival.

This project is assisted by the Australian Government’s Major Festivals Initiative, managed by the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, in association with the Confederation of Australian International Arts Festivals, Perth International Arts Festival and Melbourne Festival; and the Western Australian Government through the Department of Culture and the Arts.

Original Book by John Marsden. Illustrated by Shaun Tan. The book was first published in Australia by Lothian Books. The opera is produced by arrangement with Hachette Australia Pty Ltd.