Welcome to your 2018 season, a year of diverse pleasures for our audiences in Brisbane and right across our magnificent state of Queensland – works that exemplify OperaQ values of Excellence, Community and Adventure.
This will be my last program as Artistic Director before I hand over to my excellent successor, Patrick Nolan, so creating this 2018 season has also been a time to reflect on our journey so far and on what you, our audiences, have come to expect from OperaQ over the last few years. You’ve responded wonderfully to the great works of the opera repertoire and welcomed the beautiful artists we’ve carefully chosen to perform in these classics, but you’ve also surprised and delighted us with your adventurousness and willingness to try new experiences, styles and locations. For this reason, my final season is in many ways shaped by you, our wonderful audiences across the state.
QPAC’s Lyric Theatre will sparkle with a magnificent new production of The Merry Widow starring glamour couple David Hobson and Natalie Christie Peluso as the sparring lovers Count Danilo and Hanna. This is operetta at its grandest and finest, featuring sumptuous scenery, costumes and of course those spectacular waltzes, directed and choreographed by Graeme Murphy, one of Australia’s theatre icons, and conducted by Vanessa Scammell.
In total contrast to the shimmer of Lehár’s waltzes, at the end of the year we unleash the power and diabolical momentum of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, featuring rising international star Duncan Rock in the title role, conducted by the brilliant Johannes Fritzsch in a new production in the Playhouse, which I will return to Brisbane to direct as a guest artist! Both these amazing works feature the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and the fabulous Opera Queensland Chorus and, demonstrating once more our commitment to presenting the very best local talent alongside stars from around Australia and the world, you’ll notice the cast lists for The Merry Widow and Don Giovanni showcase many fantastic established and emerging Queensland singers.
In 2018 we’re going on the road with our quirkily charming production of Ruddigore, or The Witch’s Curse taking Richard Roberts’ delightful design to six regional centres across Queensland, starting with three performances on the Gold Coast. Our sensational cast of singer/actors including Bryan Probets, Christine Johnston, Jason Barry-Smith and Helpmann Award winner Kanen Breen will be joined by specially trained community choruses in each centre through Project G&S, OperaQ’s ground-breaking regional engagement initiative.
For me, one of the highlight experiences of 2018 will be right at the beginning of the year; Reprise is a special performance experience in response to the extraordinary works by Gerhard Richter at GOMA. This will be our second collaboration with our friends at QAGOMA, and I’m thrilled that Reprise will be directed by OperaQ’s new Artistic Director Patrick Nolan. It’s a pleasure to welcome Patrick and our new Executive Director Sandra Willis and to wish them every success.
It’s been a pleasure and a privilege to create the 2018 season, my last of six OperaQ seasons as Artistic Director of this fantastic company. I hope you enjoy every moment of it!