The State Opera of South Australia just launched its 40th season with a program that includes its own production of Cloudstreet, a new opera based on a popular Australian novel by Tim Winton. Developed over the past five years by international theatre director Gale Edwards and composer George Palmer, the production will be staged in May 2016.

Cloudstreet, published by Tim Winton in 1991, explores family relationships by chronicling the lives of two working class Australian families who come to live together at One Cloud Street in a suburb of Perth in Western Australia, the state Tim Winton grew up in. Edwards said that the iconic novel, one that Australian students study in high school, was perfect for an opera because it is an epic drama with a mythological aspect that lends itself well to the stage.

The popularity of the story – it has been made into a successful stage play and television miniseries – may be key to attracting new audiences and bolstering sales. Edwards says the new work is 100 percent opera, with no dialogue and features many lyrics straight from the book.

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