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Love, class and intrigue unite Opera Queensland’s two mainstage productions for 2018, which will see the arrival in Brisbane of Graeme Murphy’s The Merry Widow and Lindy Hume set to direct Don Giovanni in her final season with the company.
“Graeme Murphy’s The Merry Widow is a delicious celebration of wonderful music, dazzling design, gorgeous costumes and – as you’d expect from one of Australia’s most celebrated choreographers – brilliant waltzes,” says Hume. “Our charismatic cast, [including] David Hobson and Natalie Christie Peluso – ideally paired as the romantic leads Hannah and Count Danilo – features popular local artists including Katie Stenzel, Jason-Barry Smith, Shaun Brown and Virgilio Marino.”
The Merry Widow. Photo © James Rogers.
Hume takes her leave of OperaQ with one of Mozart’s darkest, most complex operas in Don Giovanni. The company’s first Mozart opera since Così fan tutte in 2011, it stars Perth baritone Duncan Rock in the title role.
“As a director I’m drawn to the powerful themes of sex, mortality and Giovanni’s sociopathic behaviour, as he cuts a hedonistic swathe through the lives of the people he encounters in the last thrill-seeking hours of his life,” says Hume. “I’m also very excited to collaborate on this work with a fabulous team including conductor Johannes Fritzsch and designers Anna Cordingley and Ben Hughes.”
Duncan Rock as Don Giovanni. Photo © Daniel Swerdlow, treatment by Stephanie Do Rozario.
In June, tenor Rosario La Spina and soprano Antoinette Halloran are teaming up for an evening of opera arias and duets. They will be joined by members of the Open Stage Community Chorus on the set of The Merry Widow for a celebratory night of song.
“Rosario La Spina and Antoinette Halloran are longtime colleagues and two of Australia’s finest operatic voices,” Hume explains. “They recorded an album together in 2008 called Puccini Romance and we couldn’t resist bringing them back together for a one-evening-only performance… Audiences can expect backstage stories and powerful performances of some of opera’s most-loved arias and duets, including some of Rosario and Antoinette’s personal favourites.”
In its second collaboration with Queensland's Gallery of Modern Art, OperaQ’s incoming artistic director Patrick Nolan will explores the themes “classical, contemporary and future”. He curates Reprise, a performance in dialogue with GOMA’s Gerhard Richter: The Life of Images, the first significant Australian exhibition of the influential German artist. Starting with Bach, a treasured composer of Nolan’s, the production will move from an exploration of the canon to the future of classical music, featuring a special commission from Australian composer Paul Grawbosky.
Hume is thrilled about Nolan’s appointment and the chance for audiences to get to know his work in Reprise. “His skills and reputation as an arts leader, and an opera, theatre and events director of international stature are ideal to lead our company and this extraordinary art form into the future. It’s also exciting that our audience will get a taste of what they can expect from Patrick early in 2018.”