Rendered speechless: how a wordless opera came to be

Propelled by the Human Rights Commission Report into Children in Immigration Detention, Cat Hope’s opera transcends the political to create art with compassion.

Singer Karina Utomo features in Speechless by Cat Hope. Photo by Paul Tadday.

‘I felt somewhat helpless knowing children are in detention. I thought perhaps through art we can put a humanitarian aspect back to the way of thinking about these issues in Australia,’ said composer and musician Cat Hope.

Hope was referencing the 2014 Human Rights Commission Report, The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention; a report that drove her to devise the wordless opera Speechless, which will have its world premiere season (26 February – 3 March) at this year’s Perth Festival.

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