The Tasmanian premiere of Charles’ Packer’s Crown of Thorns will be performed on Good Friday in St David’s Cathedral, Hobart. Choral Productions Tasmania, under the direction of conductor Margot Lampkin OAM, will lead a 60-voice choir with soloists Quin Thomson, Helena Markovitch, Brett Budgeon and Michael Lampard.
Charles Sandys Packer (1809-1883) was a rising star in London’s musical world during the second quarter of the 19th century before being transported to the Australian penal colonies for a crime he did not wilfully commit. He was recognised for his musical accomplishments immediately upon his arrival in Australia and, after his freedom in the 1840s, he stood virtually unrivalled in Tasmania and Sydney.
Packer’s obscurity in the musical world of 21st century Australia remains puzzling. Yet his masterpiece, the oratorio The Crown of Thorns (1863), was equally shared on the concert platform with Handel’s oratorio Messiah for decades in Sydney each Easter. It was last heard in Sydney in 1936.
Although several pieces from The Crown of Thorns were heard in Tasmania under the baton of the composer’s nephew, Frederick Augustus Gow Packer, more than 100 years ago, the oratorio has not been heard complete again.
For more than 10 years, Luke Agati, has researched Packer’s life and work in England and Australia. His research reveals a composer who should rightfully share the stage with Australia’s musical giants.
The Cathedral has limited seating due to social distancing, so early purchase is recommended.
Friday April 2, 2021
Performance times: 3.30pm and 6.30pm.
Venue: St David’s Cathedral, 23 Murray St, Hobart
Tickets $35 and $30 concession