Every part of Australia is,
always was and always will be,
Aboriginal land.

As a community gathering-place, a festival of arts, cultural exchange and celebration and as a site for the sharing of ideas and stories, Ten Days on the Island pays respect to the Palawa/Tasmanian Aborigines – The original owners and cultural custodians - of all the lands and waters across Lutruwita/Tasmania upon which our Festival takes place.

With thanks to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre for place names and other words in palawa kani, the language of Tasmanian Aborigines.

Detached Cultural Organisation, Victorian Opera and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in association with Ten Days on the Island present


World Premiere



9 Mar Thu 5:45 pm

10 Mar Fri 7:30 pm

11 Mar Sat 2:00 pm

11 Mar Sat 7:30 pm

12 Mar Sun 4:00 pm

13 Mar Mon 5:00 pm





Transaction fees apply


70 mins

Show Accessibility

Language No Barrier
Language No Barrier

This is an operatic work that can be engaged with by the hearing community without a comprehensive understanding of the English language.

Venue Accessibility

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Wheelchair Accessibility

This venue is accessible to people that use wheelchairs and has level access throughout the event space. Please note that there is no level access to bathrooms in this venue.

More information on The Old Mercury Building here.

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Level Access

This venue is level access to interact with the event space. Please note that steps will be encountered to access bathrooms, which are on a lower level.


Suitable for all ages


Ten Days on the Island is closely following and implementing all restrictions and recommendations advised by National and State Governments regarding public gatherings and event venues, you can find the relevant government information here.

We, as well as the venue will be managing the risk of COVID-19 at our event venues in the following ways:

  1. Public availability of hand sanitiser at Festival venues.
  2. Patrons, staff, volunteers and artists are encouraged not to attend events if they are unwell.

By Don Kay (composer) and John Honey (librettist)

For renowned Tasmanian composer Don Kay bereavement after his beloved wife’s death was profound. From his loss this mini-opera was born – a series of vocal works evoking the ancient phrase memento mori (remember, you will die) with its inescapable, plain truth.

In collaboration with lyricist John Honey, Kay creates a rich musical and theatrical journey through the universal themes of fragility, vulnerability and the certainty of death.

These four works for soprano and baritone give voice to our demise yet also amplify the wondrous contradiction and complexity that, while we remain, life can and must go on. A reflection on ageing, illness, death and loss, Memento Mori reminds us also of the enduring triumph of love, catharsis, renewal, and optimism.

Theatrical staging and evocative projections bring Memento Mori into the realm of mini opera. In tribute to Don Kay on his 90th birthday, these performances will be realised by three eminent Australian opera artists: baritone Douglas McNicol, soprano Christine Douglas and director Roger Hodgman, with visual design by Michael Bugelli and Joseph Shrimpton.


Composer – Don Kay

Lyricist – John Honey

Director – Roger Hodgman

Lighting Design – Jason James

Visual Design – Michael Bugelli and Joseph Shrimpton

Singers – Douglas McNicol, Christine Douglas

Piano – Vanessa Sharman

Post Show Q&A

Join Memento Mori key creatives Don Kay, John Honey and Roger Hodgman for a Post Show Q&A on 12 Mar Sun 5PM.

Image Credit: Michael Bugelli