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Emma Matthews:
The Space Between

Composed by Paul Grabowsky
Written by Steve Vizard

Opera has a habit of killing its heroines, but this one’s not going down without a fight. Seven time Helpmann award-winner Emma Matthews performs a revealing and powerful musical confession inspired by her own journey and the many great opera heroines that she’s played. Can she make sense of the history that brought her here, or is her fate that of the many doomed opera heroines that have filled her life?

Set in the intimate Fairfax Studio, don’t miss this opportunity to experience the sublime voice of Australia’s greatest soprano, up close, consuming the space between artist and audience like never before. With music composed and performed by pianist Paul Grabowsky, a poetic libretto written by Steve Vizard, and Jamie Oehlers on Saxophone, this unique new work commissioned by Arts Centre Melbourne is sure to become a modern classic.



We meet the artist as she reaches the pinnacle note, the cadenza, in the mad scene of Lucia di Lammermoor, just before she meets her untimely death…..not ready to sing her final note….. a note that could mark the end of not just this opera, but a life, a career, a journey. Through the power of her voice, time seems to stop, inviting us the audience to become voyeurs of her internal mutterings, struggles, memories, dreams, mortality, story. In this jumbled space of the artist’s deepest inner dreams, we share with her as she conjures up fragments of her life, the events that shaped and transformed her as a women and an artist and the dark forces that influence a career. The artist takes the audience through a night of her own delusions and remembrances of mortality, love, the purpose of existence, art and transcendence beyond the ephemeral here and now. Without a linear trajectory, the Space Between sits within the fragile, elusive half-remembered, half-imagined dreamscape of existential crisis.

★★★★ There’s no denying Matthews is an absolute powerhouse. It’s a unique performance, certainly unlike anything she has done before…this is the kind of work that matters.
The Age

Emma Matthews gives a tour de force performance
Simon Parris

★★★★ Takes opera into new musical and theatrical territory
Limelight Magazine

“Paul and Steve have written me a stunning, theatrical song cycle…It’s profound, angry, sexy, and incredibly challenging. Two opposing art forms coming together, in a way that’s truly compelling.”
Emma Matthews

“There is such overwhelming beauty and bravery witnessing the heartfelt revelations of an artist, like Emma Matthews, as she bares all in such an intimate, revealing and powerful musical confession”
Steve Vizard

“As composer I am inspired by three major factors: the beautifully lyrical libretto of my friend Steve Vizard, the virtuoso improvisatory talents of Jamie Oehlers, and especially by the consummate musicianship and superb artistry of the great Emma Matthews.”
Paul Grabowsky



Emma Matthews Lead Performer

Australia’s most highly awarded soprano, with 7 Helpmann Awards to her name, Matthews performs with Opera Australia, all the state opera companies and the major Australian symphony orchestras and festivals.

Paul Grabowsky AO Musical Director / Pianist

One of Australia's most distinguished performing artists - an acclaimed pianist, composer, arranger and conductor - Grabowsky has won multiple ARIA awards including for Best Jazz Album as well as two Helpmann Awards.

Jamie Oehlers Saxophone

One of Australia’s leading jazz artists and saxophonists, Oehlers has won numerous awards in Australia and abroad including the World Saxophone Competition and a Jazz “Bell” Award for Best Australian Jazz Artist.

Matthias Schack-Arnott Percussion

Roy Theaker Violinist

Paul Zabro Cellist



Paul Grabowsky AO

Steve Vizard

Leticia Caceres

Set and Costume Design
Rebecca Hayes & Esther Hayes, The Sisters Hayes

Lighting Designer
Nick Schlieper

Sound Designer
Ben Grayson

Liza McLean