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  • Meet Virgilio Marino

    Thursday 28 May 2020

    Virgilio Marino credits his year as the Opera Queensland Young Artist as a springboard to being signed with an agent, […]

    Read More
  • Get to know our 2020 Young Artist, Rebecca Cassidy

    Thursday 21 May 2020

    Opera Queensland’s Young Artist Program supports and nurtures future generations of talented performers such as 2020 Young Artist, Rebecca Cassidy.   […]

    Read More
  • COVID-19 brings the curtain down on Bran Nue Dae 30th anniversary tour

    Monday 18 May 2020

    A new production of the Indigenous musical Bran Nue Dae, presented by The Opera Conference, that was scheduled for a […]

    Read More
  • AN ARIA A DAY… Your daily dose of opera from home.

    Friday 8 May 2020

    OPERA QUEENSLAND LAUNCHES NEW DAILY PERFORMANCE PROGRAM TO SUPPORT ARTISTS DURING ONGOING COVID-19 CRISIS Opera Queensland has lifted the curtain […]

    Read More
  • Introducing our partner, Emporium Hotel South Bank

    Wednesday 6 May 2020

    At Opera Queensland we’re extremely proud of our partnerships.  The support we receive from our partners plays a vital role […]

    Read More
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    Above: Virgilio Marino performs in Opera Queensland's Madama Butterfly (2016)

    Virgilio Marino credits his year as the Opera Queensland Young Artist as a springboard to being signed with an agent, allowing him to pursue his career as a professional singer.

    Virgilio immediately connected with opera after his very first encounter with the art form at a young age.

    “I fondly remember watching the famous Three Tenors Concert at Caracalla as a child, and I think from that moment I was instantly hooked,” he recalls.

    “At the time I was on a scholarship at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney as a boy soprano and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to sing in the choir with one of my greatest inspirations and idols, Luciano Pavarotti, when he toured Australia performing Verdi's Requiem.

    Virgilio began working with Opera Queensland in 2006, undertaking a year of tutelage including voice coaching, language workshops and understudying Principal roles all while being immersed in the culture of a large opera company.

    “It was an absolute honour to receive such incredible and professional support earlier in my career,” he said.

    During the year as Opera Queensland’s Young Artist, Virgilio performed in more than 30 concerts in regional and city settings. He expanded his repertoire and developed stamina, learning to be flexible to adapt to new venues and challenges while on the road.

    Virgilio has played numerous roles for Opera Queensland, including notable performances in productions such as The Pearlfishers, Turandot, The Barber of Seville, The Magic Flute, La traviata, La bohème, Don Giovanni, Madama Butterfly and La Cenerentola.

    After completing the program VirgiIio worked extensively as a freelance artist throughout Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Asia and Europe.

    “Opera Queensland’s Young Artist program gave me the perfect kickstart to my career. The support I received from the company was fundamental in my progression from student to professional artist,” he said.

    “All the traits necessary for success in this precarious industry – versatility, being well prepared, having a strong vocal foundation, solid technique, language skills, consistency, reliability, resilience and being a good colleague – I learnt during my time with Opera Queensland. I simply would not be the singer I am today if I did not have access to this world-class training from the onset.

    “These current times have exposed just how vulnerable and valuable the arts are. It is wonderful to see Opera Queensland investing in the development of emerging artists and the future of our precious art form.”

    Opera Queensland’s Young Artist program offers professional artists at the beginning of their career a program of exceptional training and development activities including individual coaching, stagecraft technique, language tuition and involvement in Opera Queensland’s main stage productions, community and corporate engagement events. Learn more about the program and how you can support emerging artists here.


    https://youtu.be/hZIg_Tu_aoI
    WATCH NOW - Virgilio Marino performs Stanislao Gastaldon's 'Musica proibita' for Opera Queensland's Aria A Day digital program.
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    Opera Queensland's Young Artist Program supports and nurtures future generations of talented performers such as 2020 Young Artist, Rebecca Cassidy.  

    Originally from Townsville, Rebecca moved to Brisbane in 2008 to follow her passion and study music at Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (QCGU).  

    Rebecca says being a professional opera singer is something she has dreamed of since she first fell in love with opera at a young age.

    “I was already very musical and loved singing and playing music when my parents took me to see a touring production of Carmen in Townville while I was still in primary school,” Rebecca says. 

    “I remember being instantly and completely affected by the entire opera experience. I was overwhelmed by how beautiful the singing was and how beautiful the singers were but most of all, I remember being completely devastated by the ending when Carmen died. 

    “As a child you are surrounded by fairytales that always end with ‘happily ever after’. Carmen didn’t have a fairytale ending and that had a profound impact on me.”  

    Rebecca admits her parents were probably a little concerned by how much she fixated on the opera at the time, but she was captivated and knew then and there that she wanted to become an opera singer. 

    “It was the music, it was how beautiful the performance was, it was the sadness of the story, it was the realness of it all. From that moment on, I was hooked.” 

    Fast-forward a few years and Rebecca has completed her Bachelor of Music and has spent the last three years performing in opera and on the concert hall stage. 

    And she couldn’t be more excited about being named Opera Queensland’s 2020 Young Artist.  

    “Being included in the Young Artist Program is by far the most important thing that has happened to me in my operatic career, and in my life,” Rebecca says.  

    “The thing about being an opera singer is there is no step-by-step guide for a professional opera career. You can train for years and put in so much hard work and there are still no guarantees. 

    “That’s why Young Artist Programs are so amazing. They take a young singer who is on the cusp of a professional career and give them the opportunity to work inside an opera company, to grow as an artist, and build the connections that are so important to their long-term career.” 

    Recognised in the industry as vibrant, iconic and highly sought-after specialist training opportunities, each Young Artist Program is shaped by the company that offers it. Programs can range from short summer intensive courses through to fully staffed departments such as the renowned Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program and Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artist Programme.  

    The Opera Queensland Young Artist Program has been re-ignited in 2020 under the vision of Head of Music, Narelle French and Artistic Director Patrick Nolan.  

    As Opera Queensland’s 2020 Young Artist, Rebecca will receive specialised music, language and stagecraft tuition. She will also perform in concerts, at community and corporate engagement events and most significantly, Rebecca will understudy the role of Isolde in our production of Tristan und Isolde

    While COVID-19 restrictions have created some challenges for Rebecca’s start in the Program, she isn’t letting the uncertainty dampen her enthusiasm. 

    “I might experience a few twists and turns in my journey in the Program this year, but when I signed up for life as an opera singer, I knew the path was going to have its ups and downs.  

    And however this year plays out, I know it will all be worth every second.” 

    Two of Rebecca’s recent performances were recorded as part of A Weekend with Opera Queensland.

    Filmed in partnership with of one of Opera Queensland’s corporate partners, West Village, these performances are an example of one of the many opportunities that can arise from being on a Young Artist Program. 

    Opera Queensland hopes to extend its Young Artist Program in 2021 and beyond to support more singers across each year, as well as associated artists such as directors, composers and designers. 

    Find out how you can help emerging artists like Rebecca here. 

    https://youtu.be/U8rhiRsNVSo

    Brindisi 
    (Drinking Song) from La traviata by Verdi 
    Sung by Jason Barry-Smith, Nick Kirkup, Rebecca Cassidy and Jessica Low 

    https://youtu.be/U0JBqJ8KCRQ

    Flower Duet from Lakmé 
    Sung by Rebecca Cassidy and Jessica Low 

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    A new production of the Indigenous musical Bran Nue Dae, presented by The Opera Conference, that was scheduled for a full national tour in 2020 to celebrate the show’s 30th anniversary, is the latest production to be cancelled because of the COVID-19 restrictions.

    This latest cancellation follows the announcement last month that the return Sydney season, along with the Melbourne and Geelong seasons were not proceeding.

    As the restrictions on mass gatherings are extended, it is no longer possible to stage the remaining legs of the tour in Brisbane, Canberra and Adelaide scheduled for July and August.

    After successful seasons in Parramatta and Perth earlier in the year, the show was still due to run as part of Opera Queensland’s 2020 program at QPAC in late July before moving to Canberra Theatre Centre for Opera Australia on 11 August and then on to Her Majesty’s Theatre in Adelaide for State Opera of South Australia from 19 August.

    Opera Australia CEO Rory Jeffes, speaking on behalf of The Opera Conference, wanted to thank all involved in the Bran Nue Dae project.

    “I wanted to take this opportunity to pay tribute to everyone who has worked so tirelessly in bringing this production to the stage for this very special anniversary tour.

    “This is of course a really difficult time for everyone. I know how devastating this news is for the whole extended Bran Nue Dae family that stretched across the country. All the performers, creatives and crew, everyone worked so hard on this project, that I know was very close to all their hearts.

    “It is so terribly unfortunate that the ongoing government restrictions have left us with no choice but to cancel the rest of the tour, with the health and well-being of the touring company and the community remaining a top priority,” said Mr Jeffes.

    Written by the late Jimmy Chi in collaboration with the band Kuckles, Bran Nue Dae was recognised as the world’s first Aboriginal stage musical when it premiered to great acclaim in 1990.

    A dynamic young cast and a formidable creative team had been assembled for the anniversary tour that included original director Andrew Ross, original Kuckles members including musical director Patrick Bin Amat, associate director Naomi Pigram and choreographer Tara Gower along with set and costume designer Mark Thompson and lighting designer, Mark Howett.

    The Opera Conference is an Australia Council initiative that unites Opera Australia, Opera Queensland, State Opera South Australia and the West Australian Opera, to collaborate on coproductions that all Companies will present in their respective states as part of a national tour.

    Patrons who have purchased tickets will receive an email from the official ticketing provider outlining details on the refund process for cancelled performances and other options.

    Media Enquiries:
    Janet Glover
    Opera Australia | Public Relations Manager
    janet.glover@opera.org.au | +61 412 601 816

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    OPERA QUEENSLAND LAUNCHES NEW DAILY PERFORMANCE PROGRAM TO SUPPORT ARTISTS DURING ONGOING COVID-19 CRISIS

    Opera Queensland has lifted the curtain on a new digital program, creating much needed paid work for local and international artists during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.

    An Aria a Day launches this Friday 8 May with Opera Queensland releasing a new performance on the company’s social media channels every day, celebrating the diversity and power of opera and demonstrating the strength and resilience of Australia’s artistic community.

    Filmed in the backyards, bathrooms, kitchens and living rooms of artists across the globe, An Aria A Day offers audiences at home front row seats to some of the greatest arias of all time for free.

    Opera Queensland Artistic Director & CEO Patrick Nolan said the program reflected the company’s commitment to redefining opera for 21st century audiences.

    “As an opera company, we’ve had to completely rethink the way we do business,” Nolan said.

    “Unable to bring our work to physical audiences in theatres, it’s crucial to imagine how we continue to share our work in other ways and continue to support our artists financially.”

    More than 40 singers are confirmed so far, including award-winning New York-based Australian soprano Rachelle Durkin (Tosca), acclaimed tenor Adrian Dwyer (A Flowering Tree), multiple Helpmann and Green Room Award-winning mezzo-soprano Jacqueline Dark (The Ring Cycle), and several rising stars including local talents Irena Lysiuk, Brenton Spiteri and Katie Stenzel.

    “Our brief to the artists was simply ‘sing us something you love’ and it’s returned the most wonderful collection of music, from opera classics like ‘Nessun dorma’ from Puccini’s Turandot to a wildly irreverent 16th century autoerotic folk song!” Nolan said.

    Nolan said relocating the art form’s biggest anthems from the world’s opera houses into the singers’ homes revealed the songs in a new and intimate way.

    “Opera can often be larger than life, so when you take some of these songs out of concert halls and strip back layers of technical production, you still have the “wow” factor of the singers talent and technique and at the same time are introduced to the performers in a very real and tender way. Great performers are always generous in what they give, and this makes this so apparent.

    “Adrian Dwyer for example, has performed in many of the world’s most revered opera houses, yet for An Aria A Day, we see him at home in a Hawaiian shirt busting out some Verdi on his ukulele. It’s just lovely.”

    Importantly all the singers are remunerated for their participation, Nolan said.

    “Paid performance opportunities at this time are scarce so An Aria A Day provides some much need income for an industry devastated by the ongoing COVID-19 situation.”

    “It’s art that is keeping the world sane at this time. The books we’re getting lost in, the movies and television series we’re binging on; the music that’s transporting us – these don’t come out of nowhere. They take years of practice, dedication and skill,” Nolan said.

    An Aria A Day launches Friday 08 May 2020 with a performance by opera and cabaret star Jacqueline Dark released on Opera Queensland’s YouTube channel and Facebook at 6pm.

    Subsequent performances will be released daily at 6pm on  YouTubeFacebookInstagram and Twitter.

    For more information here.

    https://youtu.be/dJ8hVFxG4Ns

    Reserve your front row seat for An Aria A Day by following us on….

    Or subscribe to our email list for a weekly wrap of all the performances.

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    At Opera Queensland we’re extremely proud of our partnerships. 

    The support we receive from our partners plays a vital role in enabling us to produce work of the highest quality with the best local, national and international artists.

    Our partnerships support programs that allow communities across rural, remote, regional and metropolitan Queensland to experience our wonderful art form through live and online performances, workshops and social events.

    To celebrate our partners' help in bringing people together to experience the joy of singing, we have launched a series of features to introduce our partnerships.

    Introducing Emporium Hotel South Bank

    Our partnership with Emporium Hotel South Bank (EHSB) is based on a shared passion for the arts, in particular opera, and a deep belief that Brisbane is a great city with a thriving arts and culture program to offer locals and tourists. 

    EHSB is the result of the extraordinary vision of Fran and Anthony John who lead a team of respected professionals to ensure Australia’s most awarded luxury boutique hotel in the heart of South Bank always delivers exquisite experiences to their guests.   

    Phil Hancox, Director of Marketing and Communication at EHSB, shared an update on how he and the team at EHSB are responding to COVID-19.

    1. How has EHSB had to re-imagine the business model in response to Covid-19?

    Our Hotel is open and functioning in terms of its accommodation but we have had to re-imagine our food and beverage outlets and the offerings they provide. We have made the changes to our food and beverage services with care and innovation.

    • Belle Epoque, our French Patisserie, continues to serve delicious  takeaway treats.
    • We have launched Emporium Ready Made Meals in response to the current social distancing rules. We are offering meals designed and prepared by Emporium Executive chefs to be enjoyed by busy executives working from home, families who find themselves juggling competing priorities between home-schooling and work, and our local community who miss their regular dining experiences at EHSB.  
    • Our High Tea is quite famous amongst our strong local clientele and guests staying at the Hotel, especially on Mother’s Day.  This year we wanted to spoil Brisbane mums so we created our own takeaway and home delivered high tea packages so you could recreate the delicious experience you would normally receive by dining in our venue at home or as a picnic ... all within social distancing restrictions.
    • Emporium Market is our new grocery delivery service that has become popular with our Emporium Apartment residents and other residents of apartments nearby needing essential supplies.
    • Our Hibernation Package has been created for people still having to travel for essential reasons, or requiring accommodation that has close access to the South Bank hospitals during this unprecedented time.  The package is priced at $175 room rate and an additional $50 includes meals for our guests.
    1. What has the team at EHSB learnt through this experience?

    The power of working collaboratively as a team through difficult times and the creative output that can come from that.

    1. What are the first things you personally plan to do when isolation restrictions are lifted?

    Holiday at the beach, go to the cinema, go to the gym and eat at a restaurant.

    1. What do you miss most about live performances?

    The atmosphere and the tangible energy in the theatre.  I miss sharing the experience with an audience of like-minded people filled with the same joy.

    1. Can you share any tips for motivating staff that you have introduced since COVID-19 restrictions were introduced?

    The Marketing Team has a weekly zoom meeting dedicated to ‘bring your dog to work day’ and within the broader organisation we have a 'check in' with more than 100 of our team, some of whom aren’t currently working due to the COVID-19 situation. This check in has been important for people’s mental health and keeping everyone feeling connected.

    Find out more about Emporium Hotel South Bank here.

    For more information about partnering with Opera Queensland, please contact Erin Robinson at erobinson@oq.com.au or on 07 3735 3057 or contact our Development Team at development@oq.com.au or phone 07 3735 3030.

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    Above: Virgilio Marino performs in Opera Queensland's Madama Butterfly (2016)

    Virgilio Marino credits his year as the Opera Queensland Young Artist as a springboard to being signed with an agent, allowing him to pursue his career as a professional singer.

    Virgilio immediately connected with opera after his very first encounter with the art form at a young age.

    “I fondly remember watching the famous Three Tenors Concert at Caracalla as a child, and I think from that moment I was instantly hooked,” he recalls.

    “At the time I was on a scholarship at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney as a boy soprano and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to sing in the choir with one of my greatest inspirations and idols, Luciano Pavarotti, when he toured Australia performing Verdi's Requiem.

    Virgilio began working with Opera Queensland in 2006, undertaking a year of tutelage including voice coaching, language workshops and understudying Principal roles all while being immersed in the culture of a large opera company.

    “It was an absolute honour to receive such incredible and professional support earlier in my career,” he said.

    During the year as Opera Queensland’s Young Artist, Virgilio performed in more than 30 concerts in regional and city settings. He expanded his repertoire and developed stamina, learning to be flexible to adapt to new venues and challenges while on the road.

    Virgilio has played numerous roles for Opera Queensland, including notable performances in productions such as The Pearlfishers, Turandot, The Barber of Seville, The Magic Flute, La traviata, La bohème, Don Giovanni, Madama Butterfly and La Cenerentola.

    After completing the program VirgiIio worked extensively as a freelance artist throughout Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Asia and Europe.

    “Opera Queensland’s Young Artist program gave me the perfect kickstart to my career. The support I received from the company was fundamental in my progression from student to professional artist,” he said.

    “All the traits necessary for success in this precarious industry – versatility, being well prepared, having a strong vocal foundation, solid technique, language skills, consistency, reliability, resilience and being a good colleague – I learnt during my time with Opera Queensland. I simply would not be the singer I am today if I did not have access to this world-class training from the onset.

    “These current times have exposed just how vulnerable and valuable the arts are. It is wonderful to see Opera Queensland investing in the development of emerging artists and the future of our precious art form.”

    Opera Queensland’s Young Artist program offers professional artists at the beginning of their career a program of exceptional training and development activities including individual coaching, stagecraft technique, language tuition and involvement in Opera Queensland’s main stage productions, community and corporate engagement events. Learn more about the program and how you can support emerging artists here.


    https://youtu.be/hZIg_Tu_aoI
    WATCH NOW - Virgilio Marino performs Stanislao Gastaldon's 'Musica proibita' for Opera Queensland's Aria A Day digital program.
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