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Review: OPERA GALA – Concert Hall, QPAC

Updated: Jun 4, 2019

By Josie Montano & Robert McLachlan

The Opera Gala concert, delivered to a stimulated audience in the Concert Hall at QPAC, was definitely a night of opera favourites. An ensemble that included not only the Brisbane Chorale, but a Soprano, a Tenor and Bass-Baritone. These voices together with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra musicians, offered an evening of passionate and powerful arias, overtures and other delicious compositions.

This event was just another impressive concert within the Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s 2019 calendar, with Opera Gala the first of the Choral performances – two dramatic evenings of concerts that feature world class soloists and musicians.

The evening’s program for Opera Gala featured Verdi and Puccini delivered to us by Giovanni Reggioli, the Italian conductor. It was an honour to have the passionate Maestro, who is a critically acclaimed and has travelled the world as not only a conductor but a trainer and coach. The three soloists were the beautiful Soprano Natalie Aroyan, Tenor Kang Wang and Bass-baritone Jeremy Kleeman. Although all three soloists were superb and appreciated by the audience, it seems that the tenor received the deserved attention as he produced an extraordinary range that dominated the concert hall. The blend of over one hundred voices that included sopranos, altos, tenors and bass from the Brisbane Chorale, not only backed the soloists but as a group performed independently.

Opera originated in Italy five hundred years ago, but it wasn’t for another three hundred years before Verdi and Puccini were famous for their compositions. Two hundred years later we are still gathering in grand opera houses to listen to those great composers - particularly last night, with not only Puccini and Verdi, but Bizet and Rossini. The program was abundant with rich classical stories and emotional scenes of love, heartbreak, drinking songs, slaves celebrating freedom, and full of melodies and choruses. The QSO chose great opera moments from all time and presented them over one spectacular evening that roused and stirred the audience. The audience appreciation of the concert was enthusiastic with cries of ‘Bravo’ and a standing ovation.

Even though the exquisite Opera seemed to dominate the evening, there was no forgetting where we were and who were the backbone of the performance - the extremely professional orchestra who played their instruments with gusto, enthusiasm and pride.

If you missed the first Chorale performance, it was recorded and will air on ABC Classic radio on 6th June, 2019 at 1pm. The detailed program assisted with not only the usual biographies and listening guide, but a glossary of terms and a ‘who sits where’ for the concerto novices.

There is a second event later in the year titled Messiah, a concert of Handel’s lasting masterpiece, with the famous ‘Hallelujah’ chorus, a much-loved Christmas tradition. But between now and then you still have plenty to choose from the 2019 season performances that include symphonies, opera, sounds from the deep, Latin American, a master violinist, themes of animal kingdom as well as toys and puppets – philharmonic music for everyone.

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.


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