Opera Queensland’s 2024 season throws down the gauntlet, for ambitious programming and fresh approaches to opera.
There are three major productions in Brisbane – productions which show the breadth of vision of Artistic Director Patrick Nolan.
Patrick has put together a programme pitching classics alongside brave new works, in an original way. Jessica Pratt is headlining a new festival focusing on the art of singing, Circa is bringing their acrobatic wizardry to ‘Dido And Aeneas’, and ‘Straight From The Strait’, a brand-new musical from Torres Strait Islands artists, is launched at Brisbane Festival.
“If we are not taking risks as an arts company, why are we here? The stage is a place to celebrate and interrogate questions and ideas we are thinking about as a community,” Patrick Nolan says.
“More than ever, we need to challenge ourselves to imagine new ways of living, new ways of connecting with each other and our environment. Opera provides us with a space to do this in ever more exciting and original ways.”
The regional programme covers the state to all points of the compass. The crowing glory is the Festival Of Outback Opera, returning to Winton and Longreach. Marcus Corowa stars in the touring production ‘Do We Need Another Hero?’ created by the team behind ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’ and ‘Lady Sings The Maroons’.
A new festival opens the year – Brisbane Bel Canto, a week-long celebration of music from the bel canto period. It begins with superstar Jessica Pratt showcasing her renowned performance of Lucia di Lammermoor, joined by bel canto repertoire master Richard Mills.
“Beautiful singing is the lifeblood of opera. Brisbane Bel Canto has been created to provide audiences with an opportunity to encounter some of the finest singers alive today, revealing the wonder and virtuosity of a great voice in flight,” Patrick Nolan says.
Brisbane Bel Canto
“This new festival provides a myriad of opportunities for people to experience opera at its most sublime. Be it the majesty of Jessica Pratt in Lucia or the intimacy of a long lunch created by Maggie Beer, for one week in April Brisbane will resound with glorious singing.”
During May, Opera Queensland heads westward, to Longreach and Winton for Festival Of Outback Opera. It’s a series of outdoor concerts in iconic locations and scenery, on a grand scale. Then, Opera Queensland reconnects with Circa in July for ‘Dido And Aeneas’. It’s a tale about a pair of lovers, an evil sorceress and a doomed affair, given new life under the direction of Circa Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz.
The final mainstage production is the World Premiere of ‘Straight From The Strait’, a new musical from the Torres Strait Islands paying homage to a group of remarkable Torres Strait Island workers on the vast expanse of the Mount Newman railway construction project. It’s been developed through collaboration and consultation with the Yumpla Nerkep Foundation and Torres Strait Island artists, Elders and community, and is led by a team of First Nations creatives, performers, musicians, and cultural advisors.
“This story is of personal importance to my family and many others from the Torres Strait, but it reveals a significant moment in history that all Australians can be proud of. Out of a strong sense of duty to their families, these men left their cultural ways – but together they found a new rite of passage through hard labour and teamwork,” Aunty Ruth Ghee says. “What an honour and privilege to have met with these Torres Strait Island railway legends and listen to their stories and songs. Their ‘work hard, play hard’ attitude have made them our ‘unsung heroes’.”
The Opera Queensland Studio Series returns in 2024 too, offering audiences the opportunity to experience big voices in the intimate space of the Opera Queensland Studio.
And once again, a new production will take to the road for the 2024 regional tour. This time it’s ‘Do We Need Another Hero?’. This musical tribute takes audiences on a journey through the history of heroism with contemporary chart-toppers blending with well-known opera arias about bravery.
Check out the full season.
Opera Queensland’s 2024 season begins with Brisbane Bel Canto.