Order of Australia recipient will star in Don Kay’s The Bushranger’s Lover later this year.

Indigenous soprano Deborah Cheetham, who was appointed Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia only yesterday in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, is to star in the world premiere of Don Kay and John Honey’s new Tasmanian opera The Bushranger’s Lover. The premiere will be a one-off concert performance at the Hobart City Hall this November.

The story of The Bushranger’s Loveris drawn from the relationship between notorious bushranger Michael Howe and his Aboriginal lover, Black Mary. The opera is set during the early history of Hobart and Van Diemen’s Land, when the colony’s fortunes balanced on a knife-edge, and Michael Howe was in a position to bring the settlement to its knees.

Deborah Cheetham will play the role of Black Mary, while Tasmanian-born but Melbourne-based baritone Michael Lampard will realise the character of Michael Howe. “We are very fortunate that Deborah has agreed to sing Black Mary,” says composer Don Kay. “She brings unique talent, insight and gravity to the world premiere of this role. It’s tremendously exciting to have her aboard.”

Deborah Cheetham is a highly regarded soprano, composer and educator of significant...