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Announcing not only an exhilarating and unexpected Season 2019, Opera Queensland today also unveiled a modern and cinematic new look and direction under the leadership team of Artistic Director and CEO Patrick Nolan and Executive DirectorSandra WillisWith a vision to lead a change in opera, while continuing to enrich the lives of their diverse audience, Opera Queensland’s Season 2019 offers a fearless line up of works, including A Flowering TreeToscaOrpheus and Eurydice and Verdi’s Requiem, a collaboration with Bleach* Festival – celebrating the classics and bringing to life new works.

 In his first season as Artistic Director of Opera Queensland, Patrick Nolan presents three main stage productions, along with regional and school touring works and a collaboration with Bleach* Festival, focusing on exceptional artistry and collaborations.

I want to bring people closer to the work we do, to reveal the threads that connect us – our humanity, our fragility and our extraordinary abilities, putting the art form front and centre – celebrating the music and artists of opera,” said Mr Nolan.

“There is a tangible thread of love, death and ritual woven through our season 2019 programming, from the beautiful story telling of A Flowering Tree, to the powerful female character that is Tosca, it is our aim that the new-look Opera Queensland and Season 2019 present this magnificent art form in a way that is relevant to today’s world.”

“Central to Opera Queensland and all that we produce is our audience; we can’t make our art or know its impact without them. It is my hope that audiences both new and current will join us for Season 2019 and experience all that we have to offer; celebrating the classics and looking to the future,” said Mr Nolan.

Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said Opera Queensland’s program had state wide reach. 

“In 2019 Opera Queensland will continue its strong tradition of creating new musical experiences, vibrant engagement opportunities, and memorable productions,” Minister Enoch said.

“In addition to Queensland Government’s ongoing investment in the company, an uplift this year of $2.16 million is helping Opera Queensland return to a season of three main stage productions each year from 2019.

“Opera Queensland’s programs continue to engage the whole state, connecting with regional and remote centres through performances and workshops, and providing valuable performance opportunities for local artists,” concluded Minister Enoch.

Kicking off the 2019 season, in the Concert HallQueensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) is the Brisbane premiere of Patrick Nolan’s Helpmann® Award winning work, A Flowering Tree from 2 – 6 April 2019Commissioned to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth, A Flowering Tree is inspired by Mozart’s The Magic Flute and is composed by John Adams, one of the world’s leading contemporary composers. The production will be conducted by Natalie Murray Beale, an Adams specialist and Opera Queensland’s 2019 Artist in Residence. This enchanting work, based on a folktale from the Kannada language of Southern India, is a beautiful story about magic, transformation and the dawning of moral awareness. Along with the grand symphonic score, this work features minimal staging giving way to a 12-metre-high video screen upon which Queensland born and internationally revered video designer, Mic Gruchy mixes images exploring the themes and ideas of the story with the live action of the orchestra.

Starring Brisbane’s Lyric Soprano Eva Kong, Tenor Adrian Dwyer, Baritone Craig Colclough with Opera Queensland’s Chorus and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, this is opera for a new world. “This is opera that takes us to a place of wonder. This is opera for those who are willing to give all to the ones they love,” said Mr Nolan. 

One of the world’s best-known operas, Tosca, will transform the Lyric Theatre, QPAC from 13 – 22 June 2019, Directed by Patrick Nolan, and conducted by Oliver von Dohnanyi, Principal Conductor of Ekaterinburg Opera and one of the world’s leading opera conductors, with design by Dale Ferguson and lighting by Mark HowettTosca, composed by Giacomo Puccini, is one of the great female characters within opera; a strong woman in an entirely male world, refusing to submit to the patriarchal system. Two internationally based Australian artists return home to star in Tosca; Rachelle Durkin who makes her role debut as Tosca alongside Angus Wood as Cavaradossi. Also starring José Carbó as Scarpia the Opera Queensland Season 2019 production will shine a light on power, how it oppresses and controls but and its vulnerability.

“This is an opera for a world where women fight for their right to be equal,” said Mr Nolan.

The third main stage work in the Opera Queensland Season 2019 canon is the underworld story of Orpheus and Eurydice, by Christoph Willibald GluckWith a long history of being directed by leading choreographers due to a number of dance and movement scenes – the most famous directed by Pina Bausch – the Season 2019 work for Opera Queensland will be directed by Circa Artistic Director Yaron Lifschitz.

Starring Owen Willetts as Orpheus and Natalie Christie Peluso as Eurydice, alongside the Opera Queensland chorus and the Circa ensemble – simplicity is at the heart of this production. With a focus on the body as the site of desire, pain and renewal, this work will see Lifschitz using his troupe of phenomenal acrobats as the creators of the physical world that Orpheus has to navigate. Conducted by Natalie Murray Beale with costumes designed by Libby McDonnell, and video by Boris Baggatini this is opera raw, physical and sublime.

“This unique collaboration with Circa – Opera Queensland’s first ever – is opera like you have never seen before,” said Mr Nolan.

Along with the main stage program, the state’s flagship opera company will continue to deliver opera to all Queenslanders with the 2019 Season also including continued education programs throughout the state, Opera at Jimbour (27 July), Opera in the Vineyards (5 May) and regional touring work, Songs to Die For, which travels across Queensland throughout August and September 2019.

In a special event and for the company’s first co-production with Bleach* Festival, Patrick Nolan will direct Verdi’s Requiem, in the outdoor amphitheatre at the Home Of The Arts (HOTA), Gold Coast on 27 April 2019Sometimes referred to as “an opera in ecclesiastical vestments”, Verdi’s gift for dramatic writing will be on full display in this remarkable score for almost a hundred musicians and a chorus of more than 60 singers. Set in a ceremonial space, designed by Alex Podger (Dark Mofo and Woodford Folk Festival), with video and lighting by Mark Howett and conducted by Natalie Murray-Beale, Verdi’s Requiem asks the grand questions of life, taking the audience on an intense musical journey from the depths of profound despair to ecstatic hope. 

Starring soloists Natalie Aroyan, Milijana NikolicRosario La Spina and Andrew Collis alongside an Opera Queensland Chorus complemented with singers from Queensland Conservatorium and the Queensland Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra, Verdi Requiem is a transcendent work, once experienced never forgotten.

Opera Queensland’s Season 2019 and re-brand reveals a company that is looking to the future, fearlessly creating memorable works for audiences to engage with across Queensland. Whether an opera aficionado or new to the genre, Season 2019 will excite, enchant and inspire, declaring THIS IS OPERA!

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