J E N N A   R O B E R T S O N
Soprano    |    Artist/Performance Maker    |    Creative Producer



Spirit Orphan is a contemporary chamber opera in development responding to bushfire and evacuations in the Gold Coast Hinterland in 2019.


Beyond experience of danger and displacement, Spirit Orphan is the story of Scottish migrant and Gold Coast Hinterland resident Jenna Robertson’s recovery from bushfire. A night alone in an evacuation centre creates questions of connection to place and provokes a deep exploration of her migrant identity and ancestry in relationship to Australia’s colonial history. 

Being written for solo soprano, chamber orchestra and chorus, Spirit Orphan is a moving work that invites questions about belonging, identity and recovery.

Spirit Orphan Creative Team

  • Creator, Co-Librettist & Performer - Jenna Robertson

  • Composer & Sound Artist - Dr. Corrina Bonshek

  • Co-Librettists - Alexandra Dunn & Community*

  • Collaborator (Film) - Salvador Cantellano


  • Susan Rallings, Making Good Alliance

  • *Lower Beechmont and Beechmont community members who participated in research for this project

  • Aunty Dr Mary Graham, Yugambeh Elder

  • Lesley Aitchison, family ancestry research

Second Stage Development - Complete Scene & Libretto, 2021

Second Stage Development scope includes development of a complete scene of the work, three programmed performances and an exhibition, a development week at HOTA, an industry showing, and libretto development. Second Stage Team:

  • Creator & Performer - Jenna Robertson

  • Composer & Sound Artist - Dr. Corrina Bonshek

  • Libretto - Jenna Robertson, Alexandra Dunn & Community*

  • Collaborator (Live Film) Salvador Cantellano

Brisbane Music Festival April 2021 recording and performance team:

Conductor - Adrian Head

Chorus Master - Joshua Clifford

Chorus - Alison Paris, Talia Garrett-Benson, Madeline Gibbs, Jacque Prior

Chamber Orchestra - Rebekah Hall, Donica Tran, Harry Swainston, Shuhei Lawson, Dario Scalabrini, Jemima Drews, Andre Oberleuter, Alex Raineri, Corrina Bonshek (Electronics)

Film crew - Salvador Cantellano and team.

Audio engineer (recording) - Geoff McGahan

*Lower Beechmont and Beechmont community members who participated in research for this project.

Second Stage Development is supported by Opera Queensland, Brisbane Music Festival, World Science Festival Brisbane and Home of the Arts, Gold Coast.  It is made possible by support from the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland, the Australian Government's Regional Arts Fund, which supports the arts in regional and remote Australia, and the Regional Arts Development Fund, which is a partnership between the Queensland Government and the City of Gold Coast Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland. Second Stage is also supported by private donors.

First Stage Development - Music Development #1, August-October 2020

First Stage scope included development of initial music for the work. First Stage Team:

  • Creator and Performer - Jenna Robertson

  • Composer and Sound Artist - Corrina Bonshek

  • Libretto - Jenna Robertson, Alexandra Dunn and Community

  • Conductor - Adrian Head

  • Singers - Alison Paris, Talia Garrett-Benson, Regan Flor, Jacque Prior

  • Filmmaker - Salvador Cantellano

  • Audio Engineer - Geoff McGahan

First Stage residency with Corrina Bonshek was made possible by the Australian Government through Arts Queensland.

Research & Development, Generate GC, Nov 2019-August 2020

The concept for Spirit Orphan was created through Jenna's place as an Artist on the Generate GC program.  Generate GC is a program for exceptional artists to develop new works.  Generate GC is a City of Gold Coast initiative delivered in partnership with the internationally acclaimed program Situate - Art in Festivals. 

R&D Mentors through Generate GC:

  • Emma Porteus - Artistic Director, TasDance & Situate - Art in Festivals (Generate GC)

  • Liesel Zink - Choreography & Dramaturgy

  • Sam Creyton - Arts & Culture, City of Gold Coast

  • Anna Young - Producer, Generate GC

R&D period was supported by Situate and City of Gold Coast.

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