Opera Queensland’s Festival of Outback Opera returns to the west from 18 – 27 May 2022.
Over 10 days, the unforgettable landscapes of Longreach, Winton, Barcaldine, Blackall, Tambo and Windorah, will take centre stage as the Outback is filled with song, music and performance following the great success of 2021’s inaugural Festival.
The 2022 Festival of Outback Opera, presented in association with University of Queensland, features two spectacular open-sky concerts in Longreach and Winton, four performances of The Sopranos – a newly commissioned work by poet and writer Sarah Holland-Batt – Opera Queensland’s popular community singalongs Sing Sing Sing, and a program of community events and activations in quintessentially Outback locations.
Acclaimed soprano Greta Bradman headlines the festival, while conductor Dane Lam brings his inimitable style to the event as Music Director.
Opera Queensland received $500,000 investment from the Queensland Government to support the 2022 Festival of Outback Opera and the creation of The Sopranos.
Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said Queensland Government support would help Opera Queensland develop and tour The Sopranos for the 2022 Festival of Outback Opera, building on the success of the inaugural event in 2021.
“The 2021 festival exceeded attendance targets and activated unique and iconic local venues in Longreach and Winton,” Minister Enoch said.
“It’s great to see Opera Queensland return to communities in this region with a brand-new operatic work to strengthen partnerships with local councils, grow audiences and realise positive economic and social outcomes.”
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said May was a terrific time of year to visit Queensland’s Outback.
“The mild, sunny days and cooler evenings are ideal for exploring the Outback and discovering the Festival of Outback Opera,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Outback Queensland provides a unique soundscape for the festival’s incredible opera performances.
“The Palaszczuk Government is supporting the 2022 Festival of Opera because we know how important this event is to local jobs, tourism operators and the Outback’s visitor economy.
“Opera Queensland’s festival presentation is a great opportunity to start planning your 2022 Outback Queensland winter getaway.”
Opera Queensland CEO & Artistic Director, Patrick Nolan celebrated the funding from the State Government, which enabled the return of the Festival after its success in 2021.
“The Festival was created to deliver exceptional performances in remote regional centres, celebrating the communities that live there and deepening the relationship between art and place and people,” Mr Nolan said
“After the overwhelmingly positive response to last year’s Festival, we realised the combination of spectacular landscapes and sublime music created a unique experience. Opera in the Outback is good for the soul.
“Funding from Queensland Government to support this year’s Festival, recognises the significance of the event and its capacity to activate remote regional communities in new and exciting ways.
“Our new partnership with the University of Queensland collaborating with the School of Music introduces the UQ Pulse Chamber Orchestra to the 2022 Festival.”
Talking about the touring production The Sopranos, Mr Nolan observed the relationship between the heroines in the story and the brave and often heroic women who have played such an important role in the Outback over the centuries.
“The Sopranos celebrates the bold and rebellious women of opera, examining their ever-changing roles from its beginning to the present day.
“There is a strong connection between the show and the remarkable women that live there, whose strength and courage have been central to the development of Outback over many, many years.”
The Festival of Outback Opera begins with tribute to a defining moment in Queensland’s cultural history; a special Sing Sing Sing event in Winton’s North Gregory Hotel – the pub where Banjo Paterson first debuted his poem Waltzing Matilda.
On 18 May, community members are invited to join Jason Barry-Smith to sing a new arrangement of the Australian classic.
Dark Sky Serenade returns on 20 May with audiences treated to a visual and musical spectacular as opera singers perform against the backdrop of an endless evening sky at Winton’s breathtaking Australian Age of Dinosaurs.
The Festival travels to Longreach on 21 May with the Singing in the Night concert hosted at Camden Park Station, a 20,000-acre working cattle station with a stunning 360-degree vista of the outback.
More than 1700 people attended the Festival of Outback Opera in May 2021 with visitors travelling from as far afield as Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.
Opera Queensland acknowledges the First Peoples of the Lands across Queensland, upon which we perform. We pay our respects to all of Queensland’s First Peoples, their ancestors and Elders, and to our shared future.