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John Joseph Jones
1930 - 2000

The Story of the making of

PIPEDREAM

The opera by Kevin Fenner and John Joseph Jones.

Chapter One: Margaret's Story

The idea to write an operatic work based on the life of C.Y. O'Connor came into the head of Margaret Dylan Jones, the librettist's then 24 year old androgyne offspring, while on a coach trip over the Nullabor plain. Margaret was returning to Perth after a three-year sojourn in Sydney, where she had been working as an accompanist.

The year was 1985, and she was still seven years away from completing the Bachelor of Music (composition) degree she had almost completed with Roger Smalley before heading east. Margaret had continued composing, just a little. And, after taking up singing while in Sydney, she was very keen to embark on something grander, utilizing voices, especially an opera.

Opera subjects don't grow on trees, she thought to herself as the coach moved on through the Western Australian wheatbelt, where the few trees offered a welcome contrast to the no-trees Nullabor. She was staring out the window when she noticed the large silver-grey pipeline lining the edge of the road. An idea hit her with a force equivalent to the tremendous rush of water that must have been surging through that pipe: the life of the famous engineer who built the pipeline would be a PERFECT story for an opera.

Eventually Margaret was back at university composing under the tutelage of Smalley. In preparation for the big project she wrote a couple of pieces as 'studies', including 'Concerto for CY O'Connor' (strings and tenor voice). She read all she could find about O'Connor, and took photos at the O'Connor museum and the Mundaring Weir (not far from where she grew up). She went twice to a play about the engineer. A couple of local writers were approached about writing a libretto, but nothing came of it. Margaret even started to write a libretto herself, out of desperation.

Exactly why it took several years for her to turn to her father, a prolific writer of poetry, short stories and plays, is one of those father-child mysteries that linger. Eventually, around 1988, Margaret asked her Dad.

Predictably, Margaret didn't like the way John was going about it. It wasn't her way of doing such things. After humming and harring over her father's offering, she said "Thanks, Dad, but no thanks". But John was hooked. Completely.

So, a full libretto was produced (which is published by Hovea Music Press). A composer was found: another local Perth composer, Kevin Fenner.

Stay tuned for the next chapter!


2002 Hovea Music Press



Works by John Joseph Jones published by Hovea Music Press

  • Poetry As Such No.1 and No. 2
Three Poems of Celebration
Summertime Poems

  • ...where eucalypts green-tip the sky: musical settings by Margaret Dylan Jones
Tuart Forest, Ludlow
Interceptor
Yellow Tingle Tree

  • Synopsis of Pipedream, the opera about C.Y. O'Connor.
My page About John Joseph Jones

Other sites with more information about John:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Joseph_Jones_(writer)
http://wapedia.mobi/en/John_Joseph_Jones_(writer)

Hovea Music Press 2002 & M D Jones 2010


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Email: margaret over at mixmargaret.com (replace ' over at ' with @)

Mix Margaret Dylan Jones, MusB(UWA),
DipEd, LTCL, ATCL, AMusTCL, AMusA
I'm an androgyne.  Read all about me. See all my music qualifications
(c) Margaret Dylan Jones 01 September 2010   Document made with KompoZer