American Opera Double Bill

American Opera – Double Bill

Presented by Melbourne Recital Centre & Australian Contemporary Opera Co.


An enlivening exploration of David Lang’s The Loser and Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s To Hell and Back.

Australian Contemporary Opera Co (ACOCo) are operatic storytellers for the 21st century. The award-winning ensemble delivers world-class presentations of contemporary works that are praised for their imagination and excellence.

A launching pad for international careers of the highest regard, Australian Opera Co artists have gone on to perform with the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera Covent Garden, Royal Opera Muscat, English National Opera, Opera Australia and more.

About the concert

In this enlivening double bill, ACOCo spotlights works by three visionary American composers: David Lang’s The Loser and Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer’s To Hell and Back.

The Loser is a complex and unsettling piece about talent, jealousy and genius, based on the book by Thomas Bernhard and brought to life by vocalist Christopher Hillier and quartet.

Riveting, hopeful and unforgettable, To Hell and Back is a ground-breaking dramatic work that combines modern Baroque orchestra, opera and music theatre to explore the nature of challenging relationships and stars vocalists Dimity Shepherd and Desirée Frahn.

Please note, The Loser references suicide and To Hell and Back has themes of family and domestic violence and may not be suitable for some audiences.

Supported by Hans and Petra Henkell

Praise for ACOCo

‘boldly unconventional’ The New York Times

COVID Safety

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Christopher Hillier baritone
Desiree Frahn soprano
Dimity Shepherd mezzo soprano

Carlo Antonioli Conductor
Linda Thompson Director

Roy Theaker violin/viola
Kalina Krusteva cello
Nic Synot double bass
Stuart Byrne flute
Stephen Robinson oboe
Theodore Pike percussion
Jacob Abela piano


David Lang
The Loser
Libretto by composer, after the novel by Thomas Bernhard

Jake Heggie
To Hell and Back
Libretto by Gene Scheer


This production is part of the following series: