'David Malouf’s novel Fly Away Peter is a contemporary classic. Elliott Gyger is an Australian composer at the height of his powers. They return to World War One in this centenary year to create a profound new contribution to Australian opera, with a libretto by SCO’s Pierce Wilcox.
'Jim Saddler is a visionary young birdwatcher thrust into the nightmare of the Western Front. Fly Away Peter travels from a land of life to a panorama of horror through Jim’s voice of delicate insight.
'This is a story of the Australian spirit that begins at peace, builds into tragedy, and ends in transcendence.' (Production summary)
'Story-telling, the pleasure of sitting in close company and listening to a story, allowing oneself to float free in the moment and enter, both in the senses and in imagination, into the story's events so that the story becomes our own, must be one of the oldest and earliest of our pleasures - a function of that uniquely human faculty in us, the capacity to step beyond the actual into the possible.' (Introduction)
'The essay addresses the poetic dimension of David Malouf's novels, suggesting that a poetics of possibility can be found in all his work. The poetics of possibility is a function both of Malouf’s thematic interest in the future and of his use of poetic language to draw the reader to imagine various kinds of ways of experiencing and knowing the world. The essay draws upon the philosophy of Ernst Bloch to illuminate the utopian dimension of Malouf’s work, whether in seeing the radiance of possibility in simple objects, the silent ‘presence’ at the centre of language, or the possibility of a different kind of future that Australian society might have experienced.' (Publication abstract)