Opera Queensland's new Brisbane Bel Canto festival brings opera greats to the stage

Opera Queensland’s new Brisbane Bel Canto festival brings opera greats to the stage

Experience the exhilarating energy of live Italian opera music this April when Opera Queensland presents Brisbane Bel Canto, a thrilling new festival that will see internationally renowned vocalists and celebrated conductors bring masterpieces by iconic mid-19th century composers to life.

Superstar soprano Jessica Pratt will headline Opera Queensland’s hotly anticipated new festival, which will give Brisbane audiences a unique opportunity to experience ‘bel canto’ style opera right here in their own backyard. Bel canto, which translates literally to ‘beautiful singing’, is a challenging operatic style that requires the performer to be at the peak of their technical ability, while also possessing emotional range so they can fully express the characters they portray. Akin to the allure and intensity of great romance novels, the power of bel canto is best experienced live – and from April 20–27, both steadfast fans and the opera-curious will be able to witness the wonder.

“There are few things that can connect with our emotional centre more effectively than the human voice in full flight,” says Opera Queensland artistic director, Patrick Nolan. “We know that audiences value the opportunity to encounter great artists at the peak of their talent, Brisbane Bel Canto creates the space for this to happen.”

Jessica Pratt, dubbed one of today’s greatest interpreters of the bel canto repertoire, will open the festival with her world-renowned performance of Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, alongside an all-star cast. Master of bel canto Richard Mills will conduct the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and the Opera Queensland Chorus for the must-see musical spectacular, which will take place at QPAC’s Concert Hall on Saturday April 20. On Wednesday April 24, Jessica Pratt returns to the QPAC stage, joined by tenors Carlos E. Bárcenas and Rosario La Spina, for Jessica Pratt in Concert – a very special one-night-only performance showcasing her greatest bel canto moments to the music of Vincenzo Bellini.

While the festival’s Brisbane Bel Canto Long Lunch curated by Maggie Beer on Friday April 26 has already sold out, seats can still be secured to see Richard Mills deliver Gioachino Rossini’s masterpiece Stabat Mater in the Queensland Conservatorium theatre later that night. Split into 12 moments, the stirring one-hour concert will feature four soloists and a full orchestra, alongside a chorus of students from Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. Audiences will have one more opportunity to see Jessica Pratt on stage in her signature role when she wraps up the festival on Saturday April 27 with a closing matinee production of Lucia di Lammermoor.

Experience Brisbane Bel Canto by Opera Queensland from April 20–27, 2024. For more information and bookings, head to the Opera Queensland website.

This article was written in partnership with our friends at Opera Queensland. 

To find out more about what’s on in Brisbane, head to our Event Guide.


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