Songs of Love and War do battle in new production
16th September, 2021

Songs of Love and War do battle in new production

An industrial foundry seems an unlikely location to be immersed in passionate music but that’s precisely what Opera Queensland is doing in its ground-breaking new production, Songs of Love and War.

The leading arts company partners with The University of Queensland (UQ) and Urban Art Projects (UAP) to fill UAP’s Northgate foundry with fiery songs and simmering desire for two special performances on Sunday 26 September.

Songs of Love and War strips bare the passions of lovers and fighters through a musical score that brings together 17th Century madrigals of Claudio Monteverdi and contemporary artists including ABBA, Led Zeppelin, Beyoncé and David Bowie.

The music will be performed by The UQ Pulse Chamber Orchestra accompanying six Opera Queensland soloists and the twelve voices of The UQ Singers.

Songs of Love and War is a promenade performance with audience members encouraged to move through the industrial setting of UAP’s working foundry as the orchestra and 18-strong ensemble perform. There will be two shows only at 6.30pm and 8.30pm.

Opera Queensland CEO & Artistic Director Patrick Nolan said the company was excited to partner with UQ and UAP to experiment, innovate and push the boundaries of opera.

“At its core, opera is about connection: between artist and audience, between classic and contemporary, between music and memory,” Mr Nolan said.

“We share the joy of opera – of music and storytelling – with people across Queensland and constantly seek out ways to innovate and reach new audiences.

“This partnership with UQ and UAP takes us out of traditional theatres and into a unique performance space, offering UQ students an incredible opportunity to perform with some of Queensland’s leading opera singers.

“Audiences will experience the furious force of love, the intimacy of chamber performances, live art projected onto the foundry’s walls and ceilings, extraordinary costumes and exquisite music from the Renaissance to now.”

Songs of Love and War takes its inspiration from renowned Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi who published Madrigals of Love and War (Madrigali guerrieri, et amorosi) in 1638.

In it, he argued composers had captured the first two passions – soft and moderate – and his goal was to express the third “missing” passion – agitation.

Musical Director and Opera Queensland Resident Conductor Dane Lam said the ferocity of Monteverdi’s songs reflected the passion and desire of deep love.

“Monteverdi’s ‘war’ refers to the fighting emotions of the heart, the intensity of feeling that comes with falling in and out of love,” Mr Lam said.

“In many ways, his compositions are precursors to today’s pop songs which is why pairing the two genres on the one repertoire is genuinely complementary.

“Breathing new life into these classics and sparking new passion in contemporary songs are Opera Queensland’s talented soloists Amber Evans, Jessica Low, Sofia Troncoso, Shaun Brown, Nick Kirkup and Timothy Newton.”

Songs of Love and War is presented by Opera Queensland and The University of Queensland in association with Urban Art Projects.

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