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When Covid-19 forced the cancellation of Project Tosca, Opera Queensland’s ambitious regional program for 2020, a new plan to create something special with regional Queensland communities was born.

Project Te Deum, Opera Queensland’s new digital community chorus, is well underway giving 85 aspiring performers from Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Toowoomba, and the Gold Coast the chance to come together, united by the joy of song.

Opera Queensland’s Director of Learning, Regional and Community, Mark Taylor, said the project was driven by a desire to forge deep connections and develop a legacy of genuine engagement across Queensland.

“Opera Queensland has long shifted away from that FIFO – fly-in, fly-out – mentality of rolling into town for a show, rolling back out and having no engagement for the next year or two,” Mark said.

“Everything we do is directed towards building a great network of friends across the state who feel a really deep connection with their state company.”

When Project Tosca was originally set to tour the state, Opera Queensland had just called for auditions for 400 Queensland singers to perform in the productions in their local community – 40 adults and 16 children across seven locations.

“Even though Covid-19 forced us to cancel the tour, we were determined to find a way to do something. We had to think outside the box and slowly the idea for Project Te Deum started to form.”

The vision for the new project is to engage aspiring artists in the same regional communities to be a part of a digital chorus, with the artists recording themselves singing The Te Deum, the powerful closing piece of Act 1 of Tosca.

All the individual recordings will be brought together into one digital performance, under the creative direction of Opera Queensland’s Artistic Director, Patrick Nolan, working closely with celebrated sound designer Geoff McGahn and videographer and lighting designer Mark Howett.

The final production will be made available online for opera lovers everywhere to enjoy very soon!

Mark said the regional chorus was rehearsing several times a week to complete their final recordings. 

“The entire chorus rehearses with Opera Queensland artists via zoom as well as participating in support sessions within their local community led by the Local Chorus Master for each of the seven regions.

“It is exciting to have found a way to keep the program alive throughout the Covid-19 restrictions and we can’t wait to share the final production, the first of its kind for Opera Queensland.”