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Review - A Night with Opera Queensland: drama, comedy and superb singing

From left Shaun Brown, Victoria Lambourn, Emily Burke and Rosario La Spina

A Night with Opera Queensland

Directed by Lindy Hume

Musical director Narelle French

Sunnybank Performing Arts Centre (SunPAC)

470 McCullough Street


Dates and venues of the tour follow the review. Duration two hours including interval.

If ever there was a production to show doubters the joy of opera, this is it. Outgoing Artistic Director Lindy Hume has combined four talented singers and tied them to 20 popular arias, duets and quartets from the most popular of operas to create a show that has drama and comedy and superb singing.

This opening night of a twelve stop Queensland tour from Brisbane to Mt Isa, was at SunPAC, the new suburban venue at Sunnybank, south of Brisbane. It is a very impressive hall attached to the Sunnybank Community and Sports Club and the auditorium has good acoustics, just perfect for the belting unamplified tones of operatic voices.

The seating is not raked, but the stack chairs were padded and I had no difficulty sitting for an hour at a time. The venue was very close to full as well, with an enthusiastic and appreciative audience.

The show featured OperaQ singers soprano Emily Burke, mezzo soprano Victoria Lambourn, tenor Rosario La Spina and baritone Shaun Brown and the performance mixed some of the greatest aria and cabaret-style chat. The singers were backed by pianist Narelle French.

The artists, looking unprepared in dressing gowns, greeted the audience as they settled into their chairs, and shared the stories of the scenes they were to perform and then slowly transformed into the characters they were playing.

The singing opened up with a bouncy All the World is a Stage and was followed by the Love Duet from La Boheme. Rosario La Spina raised the roof with La Donna a Mobile, O Sole Mio and Nessun Dorma and Emily Burke set spines tingling with the magical Un Bel di from Madama Butterfly and a winsome tribute to Gladys Moncrieff with the lilting Vilia from The Merry Widow.

Add the rousing Habanera and the Toreador Song from Carmen and combine it with the comedy of the Tipsy Song from Offenbach’s La Perichole, done beautifully by Victoria Lambourn, and Largo al Factotum from The Barber of Seville by Shaun Brown who also gave us a rousing rendering of The Pirate King from the Pirates of Penzance.

The final set off five combined the four singers in duets, a trio and finally the quartet from Rigoletto. The performers received rousing cheers as they left the stage after what was a happy premiere. The other venues around the state really have something to look forward to. The publicity blurb said: “it will be a musical evening to remember” and it certainly was.

Remaining tour Dates & venues

Sandgate Town Hall – 26 August

St George Cultural Centre – 31 August. Bookings: (07) 4625 1830

Amby Quarry, Roma - 1 September. Bookings: 1300 007 662

Moncrieff Entertainment Centre - 5 September

Gladstone Entertainment Centre - 7 September (07) 4972 2822

Proserpine Entertainment Centre - 9 September

TYTO Wetlands, Ingham - 12 September Bookings: (07) 4776 4792

Hughenden – 14 September Bookings: (07) 4741 2970

Buchanan Park Events Complex - 16 September Bookings: (07) 4747 3302

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