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This Is Northern New South Wales

Il Ritorno at NORPA

PhotoCredit_KirraPendergast-Il Ritorno offers a powerful vision of humanity and compassion… a luminous new work” The Australian

The stage is awash with bodies tumbling, lifting and clutching. Then, out of the darkness and gnawed by nostalgia, the Greek hero Ulysses appears after twenty long years of war and wanderings. Will he reach his faithful wife Penelope before she succumbs to her suitors?

Il Ritorno is a ground-breaking new work fusing Circa’s world-renowned stripped-back acrobatics with baroque opera. Over 80 taut minutes, it retells Claudio Monteverdi’s classic opera Il Ritorno D’Ulisse in Patria, intermingling it with folk song and new compositions.

At the core of Il Ritorno is the hunger to return home– saturated with loss and war, powered by longing and haunted by the past. Commissioned by the Brisbane Festival, Il Ritorno is created by circus visionary Yaron Lifschitz in collaboration with composer and arranger Quincy Grant and is performed by an outstanding cast of singers and accompanists.

Circa Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz said, “Sometimes, as they say in the movies, ‘this one is personal’. That is how I feel about Il Ritorno. It’s personal because it is only through good fortune and the caprices of history that my family ended in the sun of Australia. It’s personal because for the past seventeen years I have believed, totally, that this genre of circus is a real artform. That it can express deep emotions and higher truths. That it touches the hearts of all our audiences, no matter where they are in the world. “

‘I wanted to rebuke those who think opera is about sets and warbling, to annoy those who believe circus is an extension of the strip club or adolescent technicolour lycra fantasy. With Quincy Grant, we are fashioning a world out of Monteverdi as a tale within a tale – surrounded by Mahler, folksong and Quincy’s compositions. We ask our singers to perform surrounded by a multitude of bodies and stagings. And, as always, we challenge our acrobats to embrace the new, to pursue what is vital and necessary.”

Quincy Grant is an Adelaide-based composer whose exceptional body of work stylistically spans minimal sound installations, to dramatic, romantic orchestral works. His classical background, honed at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music and the Elder Conservatorium in Adelaide, is complemented by an abiding affair with world music including Arabic, tango, Indian and klezmer/gypsy. He has composed for the concert hall, bands, film and theatre, and is Co-Director of The Firm, Australia’s most prolific presenter of new solo and chamber musical works.

Since 2006, Circa has toured to 33 countries across six continents. Circa’s work has been rapturously received by audiences, presenters and critics around the world. Il Ritorno recently won Australia’s prestigious Helpmann Award for Best Visual or Physical Theatre Production.

Created by Yaron Lifschitz with Quincy Grant and the Circa Ensemble  | Music by Monteverdi, Grant, Mahler, Pisador and traditional | Director Yaron Lifschitz | Composer/Arranger Quincy Grant | Musical | Director Natalie Murray Beale  | Circa Ensemble Nathan Boyle, Marty Evans, Nicole Faubert, Bridie Hooper, Todd Kilby, Nathan Knowles, Britt Portelli | Opera singers Alicia Cush, Bethan Ellsmore, Sam Hartley, Mattias Lower | Musician Anthea Cottee | Senior Producer Danielle Kellie | Technical Director /Lighting | Designer Jason Organ  | Stage Design Yaron Lifschitz, Jason Organ  | Costume Design Libby McDonnell

About Circa

From Brisbane, Australia comes a bold new vision of contemporary circus. A blending of bodies, light, sound and skills. A place where acrobatics and movement meld into a seamless whole. A celebration of the expressive possibilities of the human body at its extremes. Since 2006 Circa has toured to 33 countries across six continents. Circa’s work has been rapturously received by audiences, presenters and critics around the world. Critics have raved about Circa calling the work “stunning…exquisite… heart stopping” and “electrically charged”.

Circa’s current touring shows span diverse contexts from works for families in traditional arts centres to European contemporary arts festivals. Its works are highly innovative genre‐bending pieces that stretch the practice and perceptions of circus. Circa features a full time ensemble, a concentrated administrative team and a dedicated circus studio.

Circa also runs a Training Centre with an impressive workshop program in Brisbane at our professional studio, in schools and with partners throughout Queensland and beyond. On top of our term based and one‐off training activities, Circa has an impressive track record of producing quality workshops for children, young people and adults in a range of community contexts.




Il Ritorno

By Circa

Created by Yaron Lifschitz with Quincy Grant and the Circa Ensemble


Wed 31 August, Thurs 1 & Fri 2 September


NORPA at Lismore City Hall

$22 – $50

Tickets: 1300 066 772 or

Bar and diner open from 6pm

All ages welcome but best suited for 12 years + | Running time 75 mins

Join the cast for a Q&A after the Wednesday night performance