POPSART: Sunpac Theatre and OperaQ are taking it to the people!

I attended the opening night of OperaQ’s regional tour of Night with Opera Queensland from Sunpac Theatre Sunnybank on Friday night and was totally enthralled by the passion, talent, power and beauty of the work. Presenting Opera in this non-conventional form like a cabaret, a chocolate box of hits from Madame Butterfly, Rigoletto and Don Giovanni, makes it particularly entertaining and entrancing. Many of the songs were familiar, revealing the impact opera has had on our popular culture, presented with a theatricality that’s archetypical in its extremity and emotion.

The ensemble cast is made up of some of the state’s most adored artists, including Victoria Lambourn soprano Emily Burke, and baritone Shaun Brown. The highlight of the show being the sheer power of the tenor Rosario La Spina whose super human force of nature voice shook the theatre.

Interview OperaQ Artistic Director Lindy Hume

Lindy Hume, OperaQ’s Artistic Director, told me, “we wanted to create something where people could have their expectations even prejudiced about opera challenged, as people think opera singers are stuffy and opera is high brow and we want to show that it’s not, that at all the people we work with are loads are fun.”

“So the singers introduce themselves personally to the audience then they show them the amazing things they can do. We a have a theatre moment, a swoony moment, a bright and breezy moment.”  Lindy has a wicked sense of humour that’s a bit naughty but nice and she assured me that “they are all naughty, naughty people” and they still keep that real opera theatrical magic that we want to take to the regions.

Interview OperaQ  Emily Burke and Victoria Lambourn 

Being new to Opera, it served well to be informed by Emily that as the Soprano she sings technically quite high, meaning she get all the good songs. Victoria, a Mezzo (technically lower range), added “We are Carmen, we are Delilah in Samson and Delilah,!we are traditionally the sexy roles.”

At the opening night, Sarah Boon the dynamic Executive Director of the not even one year old Sunpac, filled me in on their upcoming program, “we are in creative development mode we realised really quickly that the stories of our local community weren’t being reflected so we started this really cool seeding program with Claire Christian, Indelible Art, Wild Applause and Scott Sneddon. Our vision is to create new work that reflects our communities here in Sunnybank and then premiere it on our stage and tour it nationally and Internationally.”

Interview Sarah Boon Executive Director Sunpac 

From Sunnybank, the tour continues on to the creamy elegance of the heritage-listed Sandgate Town Hall, to the backdrop of sprawling lilypads at Ingham’s TYTO Amphitheatre and the stark beauty of a quarry outside of Roma. A Night with Opera Queensland has been lovingly designed to celebrate each town’s cultural heritage, while transporting audiences to a grand opera house.




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