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English: The Rabbits

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The Rabbits Opera

John Marsden and Shaun Tan's haunting picture book captivated a generation of children and adults, with its bold pictures and deeply moving story of progress, displacement and culture clash. It is a story that speaks to the world.

Opera Australia and Barking Gecko Theatre Company assembled some of Australia's foremost creative talents to adapt this story into a new opera for children and families. The result is "a triumphant adaptation of a deeply tragic story", wrote The Guardian

Gabriela Tylesova's sets and costumes realise Tan's pictures in all of their mystical wonder, while Lally Katz transforms Marsden's spare poetry into an enchanting libretto. Butterfly-voiced opera and pop singer Kate Miller-Heidke wrote the "simply beautiful" score (The Guardian) and performs in the production alongside a talented cast of opera singers and contemporary music performers.

The Rabbits won four Helpmann Awards, including Best New Australian Work, Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, and Best Presentation for Children.

If you want to listen to the music, you can preview or purchase it on iTunes or Opera Australia. You can also watch this video of highlights from the opera.

Video: They Have Come to Stay

Series: First Australians. Episode 1: The first Australians and the British, the most powerful Empire in history, come face to face in Sydney on January 26, 1788. Their differences are immense but apprehension quickly turns to curiosity.

2015

1:10:12

The rest of the series can be viewed here.

Books available in the NCC

Colonialisation: Further Reading

Video: Australia Over Time - Rabbits

Rabbits were first introduced to make Australia more like England but their presence has been both a scourge and a boon. Farmers and native animals have been devastated while some industries are dependent on them for their livelihood.

Production Year: 2001

9:55

Banner image is a derivative of "The Friendly Beaches, Tasmania" by Steven Penton, used under CC BY 2.0