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Opera Queensland Returns to the Stage

23 & 24 October 2020

Concert Hall, QPAC

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This is the moment we have been waiting for. The opportunity to be in the theatre again, sharing the joy and power of great singing with a live audience.

In ENCORE, seven exceptional singers are joined by conductor Dame Lam and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in a rare opportunity for music lovers.

Singers Shaun Brown, Andrew Collis, Eva Kong, Rosario La Spina, Virgilio Marino, Milijana Nikolic and conductor Dane Lam are reunited in Brisbane and will share the stage for two concerts with our 2020 Young Artist Rebecca Cassidy as she makes her main stage debut with Opera Queensland.

QPAC and Opera Queensland present a concert of songs by many of the great composers including PucciniVerdiBizet and Tchaikovsky to capture the spirit of our time – a time of reflection and gratitude that we can once again return to the theatre and share the transformative power of music together.

The concert features arias, duets and ensemble pieces from operas we all know and love. Passionate songs that tell of love hard fought for, of triumph over adversity, of a willingness to make the most of what life has to offer us.

ENCORE celebrates the power of the human spirit, paying tribute to the effort, patience and resilience that has helped us through the past year.

Two concerts only with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra

Friday 23 October 7.00PM
Saturday 24 October 3.00PM

Tickets from $59

Presented by

ENCORE is funded through the Queensland Government’s $22.5 million two-year Arts and Cultural Recovery Package.

Meet the artists

ENCORE_Dane Lam conductor_Glenn Hunt Photography

Dane Lam (Conductor)

Australian conductor Dane Lam is Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of China’s Xi’an Symphony Orchestra.

Prior to Xi’an, Dane enjoyed highly acclaimed tenures as Principal Conductor of the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Associate Conductor with Opera Holland Park, and as Assistant Conductor to Kurt Masur at the Orchestre National de France and Gianluigi Gelmetti at the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. 

First appearing with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in the Sydney Opera House at age eighteen, Dane has since conducted orchestras on four continents including the Melbourne and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, Manchester Camerata, Verbier Festival Orchestra, Sofia Festival Orchestra, Beethoven Orchester Bonn and the Juilliard Orchestra. 

Recent engagements include La bohème and Don Giovanni for Opera Australia, La traviata and The Rake’s Progress for Scottish Opera‚ Giulio Cesare for Bury Court Opera, Così fan tutte and L’arlesiana for Opera Holland Park, Norma with Chelsea Opera Group and concerts with the Queensland, Adelaide, Canberra, West Australian and Suzhou Symphony Orchestras. He returned to Opera Queensland to conduct Orpheus & Eurydice in 2019. 

ENCORE_Eva Kong conductor_Glenn Hunt Photography

Eva Kong (Soprano)

Born in Korea and now based in Australia, Eva Kong attained her Bachelor of Music at Hanyang University, South Korea, continuing her studies at Sydney Conservatorium of Music with a Graduate Diploma in Music. Opera Queensland audiences will remember Eva as Donna Anna in the 2018 production of Don Giovanni and as Kumudha in A Flowering Tree in 2019.

Eva received a Helpmann Award Nomination for Best Female in a Supporting Role and was a Green Room Award Winner for Best Female in a Supporting Role, both in 2014 for her commanding appearance as Madame Mao in John Adams’ Nixon in China. 

In 2017, Eva appeared in Parsifal and Great Opera Hits and sang Madame Mao in The Nixon Tapes for the Sydney Opera House TrustShe also sang La Charmeuse in Thaïs and the soprano solos in Carmina Burana for the Melbourne Symphony. In 2015 and 2016 she sang Liù in Turandot and the High Priestess in Aida for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour.  

Other major roles have included Gilda in Rigoletto for Opera Australia, Pamina in The Magic Flute, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel and Amina in La sonnambula for Pacific Opera. 

On the concert platform, Eva has sung the soprano solos in Verdi’s Requiem with both Willoughby Symphony and Canberra Symphony Orchestra, Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor with Sydney University Musical Society, and Saint Saëns’ Requiem with Sydney University Graduate Choir.

ENCORE_Milijana Nikolic_Glenn Hunt Photography2

Milijana Nikolic (Mezzo-soprano)

Serbian-born, Milijana Nikolic holds a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Belgrade. Making her operatic debut at the Belgrade National Theatre as Third Lady in Die Zauberflöte and Tisbe in Cenerentola. She subsequently won a two-year scholarship to attend the Academy for Soloists at Teatro alla Scala, Milan.

Since this time, she has sung leading mezzo-soprano roles throughout Europe, Asia, North America, Australia and New Zealand, making her principal role debut at La Scala in the role of Cuniza in Verdi’s Obertolater reprising the role in Genoa. Other Italian engagements included Iphigénie en Tauride at La Scala and at Rome Opera under Riccardo Muti, Emma in Ugo Conte di Parigi in Bergamo, Catania and La Scala and Rossini’s Petit Messe Solenelle and Fenena in Nabucco. 

Milijana most recent performances include Jane Seymour in Anna Bolena for The Metropolitan Opera New York, Eboli in Don Carlo,  Amneris in Aida, Verdi’s Requiem and the title role in Carmen for Opera Australia, Pantasilea in Bomarzo for Teatro Real Madrid, Carmen for Fujiwara Opera Japan and Dalila in Samson et Dalila with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.

In 2018, she sang Amneris for Seattle Opera and Opera Australia, Carmen for West Australian Opera and Azucena in Trieste, Bari and Japan2019 brought performances of Verdi’s Requiem in Brisbane and the Gold Coast and Giulietta in Les contes d’Hoffmann at the Teatro  Colón, Argentina.

She has been a frequent soloist with the Queensland and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras and the Auckland Philharmonia in works by Verdi, Mozart, de Falla, Mendelssohn and others.

ENCORE_Rebecca Cassidy_Glenn Hunt Photography

Rebecca Cassidy (Soprano)

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

Her performances include the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, Anne Trulove in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss Jnr. In addition to these operatic roles, Rebecca’s concert, oratorio and symphonic repertoire as a soprano soloist include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mozart’s Mass in C minor, Handel’s Saul, Britten’s War Requiem and Richard Strauss’ Four Last Songs

Rebecca’s awards and scholarships include QCGU’s Wagner Prize, Trinity College London Exhibition Award and the Alton Budd Memorial Scholarship.  

Rebecca featured in Opera Queensland’s 2019 touring production Songs to Die For, directed by Patrick Nolan. As Opera Queensland’s 2020 Young Artist, Rebecca received specialised music, language and stagecraft tuition. She performed in live and online concerts, at community and corporate engagement events and is well known to Opera Queensland audiences from An Aria A Day. Rebecca was set to understudy the role of Isolde in our production of Tristan und Isolde.

ENCORE_Rosario La Spina_Glenn Hunt Photography

Rosario La Spina (Tenor)

Rosario La Spina trained at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music continuing his studies at RNCM, Manchester under the tutelage of Joseph Ward OBE. In 2002, Rosario won first prize in the Mario Del Monaco International Opera Competition and made his principal role debut at La Scala as Riccardo in Oberto, reprising the role in Genoa soon after. 

He made his Opera Australia debut as Cavaradossi in Tosca in 2005 and has subsequently appeared for the national company in more than ten productions.  

Since 2014, Rosario has sung for Opera Queensland, West Australian Opera, Victorian Opera, State Opera of South Australia and Opera Australia. 

In 2020, he was set to reprise the role of Cavaradossi for Opera Queensland’s regional tour of Tosca and make his Wagnerian debut as Siegmund in Opera Australia’s production of Die Walküre which habeen postponed to season 2021. 

ENCORE_Virgilio Marino_Glenn Hunt Photography

Virgilio Marino (Tenor)

Australian-Italian tenor Virgilio Marino is the winner of the Tenor Award at the Sydney Performing Arts Challenge, a Dame Joan Sutherland Award, and was a finalist in both the prestigious McDonald’s Opera Competition and the Australian National Eisteddfod in Canberra. 

Virgilio studied voice at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the Mannes College of Music in New York. While in New York, his operatic performances included appearances in FalstaffLa Rondineand La traviata2003 took him to Italy for further studies in the Belcanto repertoire where he performed Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle in Milan and was a Semi-Finalist in the Concorso Riccardo Zandonai, Riva, Italy. 

Virgilio made his professional debut at Theater Regensburg in Germany, performing the roles of Il Duca di Mantua in Rigoletto and the title role in Oberon. After relocating back to Australia, he joined Opera Australia since performing in more than 18 productions with the national company. 

On the concert platform Virgilio has been heard in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with Orchestra of the Music Makers in Singapore, Messiah with Queensland Choir, Verdi’s Requiem with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs and Mozart’s Requiem with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra among many others. 

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Shaun Brown (Baritone)

Australian baritone Shaun Brown has worked and studied in England, Germany, Italy and the United States of America where he studied Doctorate of Musical Arts at the University of North Texas. 

The former Opera Queensland Young Artist is known to Queensland audiences for his many appearances including most recently in Don GiovanniThe Merry Widow, and our 2018 regional tour of Ruddigore, or The Witch’s Curse! 

Internationally, Shaun has sung in Opéra de Lyon’s production of The Lindbergh Flight at the New Zealand International Arts Festival and has performed in New York at the Center for Contemporary Opera in works by Jake Heggie. Shaun has performed to critical acclaim as a concert soloist covering repertoire including Britten’s War Requiem, Bach’s St Matthew Passion and Mendelssohn’s Elijah. 

In high demand as an adjudicator for vocal and choral competitions and eisteddfods, Shaun holds a position as an examiner for the Australian Music Education Board and is currently the Voice Performance Fellow at the University of Queensland. 

ENCORE_Andrew Collis_Glenn Hunt Photography

Andrew Collis (Bass-Baritone)

Australian bass-baritone Andrew Collis was a member of the Cologne Opera from 1993 to 2007. He has performed with many opera companies in concerts throughout Europe, including his participation in the award-winning recording of Zemlinsky’s Der Zwerg for EMI.

Opera Queensland’s audiences will remember Andrew as Nourabad in The Pearlfishers, Sir Roderic in Ruddigore, or The Witch’s Curse!, Colline in La bohème, Bonze in Madama Butterfly and Dr Bartolo in The Barber of Seville. 

In 2018 Andrew sang Swallow in Peter Grimes for Brisbane Festival, before returning to Opera Queensland to sing Pritschitsch in The Merry Widow, Sir Roderic in the regional tour of Ruddigore, or The Witch’s Curse! and Commendatore in Don Giovanni. 

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