Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

The return of the Doll

State Opera South Australia presents Richard Mills’ chamber opera as part of its Lost Operas of Oz program

Can there be a more Australian subject than Summer of the Seventeenth Doll ? Ray Lawler’s play about the annual pilgrimage of a group of Queensland cane-cutters was first seen in Melbourne in November 1955. Each year, these blokes would bring kewpie dolls for their Melbourne girlfriends. Then, on the 17th year of that ritual, the fabric of their relationships falls apart.

Within two years of its premiere, it had been performed in Melbourne, Sydney, on...