Local singers will have their chance to shine on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th March when Opera Queensland hold Project G&S auditions for its star-studded production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s Ruddigore, or the Witch’s Curse!, paving the way for 10 men and 10 women to sing and dance in the community chorus.
Successful local singers will take part in a free, intensive development program over eight weeks of rehearsals, honing their singing, dancing and stagecraft skills with a local chorus master and Assistant Director Sean Andrews.
Project G&S chorus members will also form new friendships, meet creative contacts and learn a thing or two about gothic horror, humour and hijinks – before taking centre stage at the Empire Theatre, Toowoomba on Thursday 23rd August 2018.
Opera Queensland will be working with a passionate Toowoomba chorus master, rehearsal coordinator and the Toowoomba Regional Council to ensure the highest standard of performance and personal development opportunities are achieved for the 20 selected local singers.
Five other regional communities – Rockhampton, The Gold Coast, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns – will take part in Project G&S.
With chorus ladies frocked up as bridesmaids and gentlemen donning cricket whites, successful auditionees will sing alongside Ruddigore’s impressive cast including stage and screen actor Bryan Probets, multi-talented Kransky sister Christine Johnston, effervescent soprano Natalie Christie Peluso and Helpmann award-winner Kanen Breen.
Opera Queensland has experienced great success since its world-first initiative Project Puccini in 2014, which saw hundreds of people in eight Queensland regions compete for 384 spots to sing in La bohème. In 2016 Opera Queensland delivered Project Rossini, which resulted in more than 250 Queenslanders performing in front of their home crowds in The Barber of Seville. Both projects changed lives and filled theatres across the state.
Opera Queensland’s Manager of Open Stage, Mark Taylor, said he couldn’t wait for Project G&S to transform the lives of more Queenslanders when auditions kicked off in February 2018.
“The past two community projects we toured across Queensland were honestly jaw-dropping experiences. The amount of talent we continue to find through our regional initiatives such as Project G&S is inspiring,” said Mr Taylor.
“This year, I have the pleasure of working with Opera Queensland’s star music director Narelle French, who will head the audition process. Narelle is one of Australia’s most respected and versatile pianists and musicians, and I can not wait for her to witness some of the great talent on offer.
“We urge everyone who loves to sing to give Project G&S auditions a go. The audition process is a fun, thrilling and surprising journey – you won’t know what will come of it unless you give it a try. You might get to star in a rare gem of the Gilbert & Sullivan repertoire.”
“Opera Queensland is passionate about bringing opera to regional Queensland, and continuing to offer high-quality experiences and engagement programs such as Project G&S. So make sure you get involved.”
Ruddigore, or the Witch’s Curse! enjoyed a successful Brisbane season in 2017 at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), it tells the story of the shy and law-abiding, gentleman farmer Robin Oakapple who is working up the courage to ask the beautiful Rose Maybud to marry him. But he has a dark secret; he is the heir to a terrible curse befalling all Baronets of Ruddigore and has been living in disguise to escape his fate. When the truth is discovered, Robin is bound to obey the family curse that dictates he must commit a dastardly crime every day – or face a torturous death.
Brilliant musical gems such as the ‘Matter’ trio and Rose’s ‘Etiquette’ song will dazzle, and this production reveals Gilbert & Sullivan in a way never seen before. Lindy Hume’s irreverent, fast-paced direction and Richard Roberts’ sepia-toned Victoriana-inspired designs promise a fun night out of madness and mayhem.
Regional Queensland can expect some delicious Pythonesque surprises, crazy larger than life characters, uninhibited villainy, the living dead and a haunted castle.
Project G&S is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland’s Playing Queensland Fund.