Following the success of Opera Australia’s first ever performance at Uluru in 2019, Opera Australia will return from December 11 to 13 next year with an even bigger program. The performance earlier this month was a massive hit, with sopranos Lorina Gore, Natalie Aroyan, mezzo-soprano Angela Hogan, tenor Simon Kim and baritone Haotian Qi joined by a chamber orchestra conducted by Tahu Matheson performing a concert against the backdrop of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and Bruce Munro’s installation Field of Light Uluru.
Mezzo-soprano Angela Hogan at Uluru. Photo supplied
“This year’s performance completely sold out in just five days, and the event itself was a great success, so we knew that we needed to find a way for a bigger encore performance”, said Voyages CEO Grant Hunt.
“It was such an honour to perform in front of the Rock this year, you could feel the excitement and awe ripple through the audience”, said Opera Australia’s Artistic Director Lyndon Terracini. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Voyages again to announce our return to Uluru in 2020 – it will be a fabulous showcase of our incredible singers and musicians, combined with the spectacular outback landscape and the spiritual energy that is Uluru.”
The 2020 program will be expanded with four unique performances. Guests will be able to curate their own experience by choosing one or multiple performances, taking place across the weekend.
The festivities will kick off on the Friday night with a performance of the final act of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, poolside at Sails in the Desert Hotel, staged under majestic ghost gums with full costuming and evocative lighting. The performance will take place during a gala three-course dinner inspired by the award-winning Tali Wiru, a signature dining experience at Ayers Rock Resort.
Saturday morning will feature a dawn dune-top recital of love songs, as four of Opera Australia’s star singers perform the Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes, accompanied by a string quartet. The intimate recital will be limited to 100 guests and the performance will overlook Field of Light Uluru – an installation of 50,000 solar-powered glass spheres, which will illuminate the desert as the sun rises, with the audience treated to a light breakfast afterwards.
The weekend’s headline event will be the Saturday evening concert, Opera Gala at Uluru, which will feature Opera Australia’s singers – the program and artists will be announced later in the year – accompanied by a chamber orchestra. Field of Light Uluru will illuminate the singers as the sun sets over the desert.
The sun will rise on the Sunday over another intimate outdoor recital, which will see soprano Taryn Fiebig sing and play her cello for 100 guests.
Terracini first visited Uluru “years and years and years ago” as part of what he describes as his first professional tour lasting longer than a week – but the wonder of Uluru hadn’t faded for him as he planned this year’s concert. “I went out there and got up at dawn and stood in front of it, which is a pretty extraordinary thing to do,” he told Limelight. “You feel not only, as everyone talks about, the spirituality of it, but you feel the incredible mass of it. It’s astonishing really.”
“The site itself is something that you can’t experience anywhere else in the world, so to be able to do a concert in that situation is really special,” Terracini said. “You have this feeling of incredible isolation,” he says. “When you walk you can hear the gravel under your feet and when you walk through the grass, the noise that the grass makes – because there’s absolute and complete silence, and we never, ever get that now.”
“It’s an extraordinary place to be,” Terracini says.
“We know that our guests are drawn time and again to the magic of Uluru, and that they want to engage in a range of experiences that allow them to gain a deeper enjoyment of the destination,” Hunt said.
“Now that the Uluru Climb has thankfully closed, we welcome the opportunity for visitors to focus on different cultural experiences, which is why we have worked hard with Opera Australia to present these performances here in the heart of Australia”.
Opera Australia performs at Uluru December 11 – 13, 2020. Tickets are on sale now. For more information on the full range of packages go to: ayersrockresort.com.au/OA or call 1300 134 044.