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The well-known Australian conductor Graham Abbott will replace Emmanuel Joel-Hornak as music director for OperaQ’s forthcoming season of The Pearlfishers (Les pêcheurs de perles).

“Maestro Joel-Hornak has had to withdraw from this engagement due to health reasons”, Artistic Director Lindy Hume said. “After his very successful season of Bizet’s Carmen in 2012 we are sad he will not be joining us this year, but we understand that health comes first and we look forward to seeing Emmanuel return to the podium very soon.”

OperaQ is delighted that the distinguished Australian conductor Graham Abbott has agreed to take over this season of The Pearlfishers. Abbott is a frequent guest conductor with all of the major Australian orchestras and opera companies, leading choral societies and numerous new and early music ensembles. He is also a respected broadcaster and has been producer and presenter of the highly successful “Keys To Music” program on ABC Classic FM since 2003.

“Well known to both Brisbane and national audiences through his radio program, Graham’s most recent conducting project with OperaQ was our staging of St Matthew Passion in 2013 with Camerata of St Johns,” Ms Hume said.

“Graham brings to the project a wealth of experience conducting a broad range of opera repertoire, and I know he’s looking forward to working with director Michael Gow, our fantastic cast of singers, the Opera Queensland Chorus and our colleagues at Queensland Symphony Orchestra in a few weeks, as are we.”

The Pearlfishers will be directed by Michael Gow and features a stellar cast including multi-Helpmann Award-winning soprano Emma Matthews, tenor Aldo Di Toro, bass Andrew Collis, and London-based Australian baritone Grant Doyle in his OperaQ debut, supported by the Opera Queensland chorus.

The story takes place during pearl diving season in colonial Ceylon where old friends Zurga and Nadir reminisce about Léïla, a woman they both loved and who re-enters their lives when a racketeer Nourabad brings a beautiful priestess to bless the fishermen.

Absent from Queensland stages for 15 years, opera lovers will relish the famous duet from The Pearlfishers, ‘Au fond du temple saint’, and the compelling story of love, obsession, friendship and greed.

Media Contact:Jean Smith | Agency North | M: 0474 385 109 | E: jsmith@agencynorth.com.au