On October 7 1998, Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University Of Wyoming, was tied to a fence in an isolated field on the outskirts of Laramie and beaten with the butt of a pistol. He later died in hospital, succumbing to his injuries and sparking an outcry that would ripple around the world and far into the future. Inspired by Matthew’s story, American composer Craig Hella Johnson composed an oratorio titled Considering Matthew Shepherd, and on February 20 it will be performed for the first time in Sydney as part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
Presented by Sydney Philharmonia’s acclaimed VOX Young Adult Choir and performed in the City Recital Hall, Considering Matthew Shepherd will be a moving and celebratory performance dedicated to his life. Directed by Shaun Rennie and conducted by VOX Musical Director Elizabeth Scott, the Sydney premiere will be a highlight of this year’s Mardi Gras.
“We’ve really been exploring all angles of the event but also of human emotions and how different people reacted to this particular event,” said Scott. “For some of the choir this is incredibly close to their hearts. It really speaks to people, some more than others. This event had such a big impact in history. A lot of us have been very emotional in rehearsal.”
“I think it will be a very moving experience. It’s such a tragic story but it’s not all about the tragedy,” shared Scott. “A lot of it is very beautiful and very reflective. It also looks at how humanity moves on to heal and moves into the future. It’s very powerful.”
Feb 20. City Recital Hall, 2 Angel Place, Sydney. $49-$109+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.cityrecitalhall.com
By Madison Behringer