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  • Helen Gramotnev


A Verdi opera is great. But perhaps a Verdi concert, curated to tell the story of the composer and to highlight some of his most beautiful pieces, is even better!

Opera Queensland’s latest production Verdi is a collection of arias from Giuseppe Verdi’s operas La traviata, Macbeth, Il trovatore, Rigoletto, Don Carlo, Nabucco, La forza del destino, Otello, Falstaff, and Aida. It features the star soloists of Opera Queensland, Opera Queensland Chorus led by the talented Narelle French, and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra led by Johannes Fritzsch. The cherry on top is Jason Barry-Smith as the charismatic Compère, whose warmth and enthusiasm are truly contagious, and who narrates the story of Verdi, capturing the audience with humorous anecdotes and personal details of the iconic composer’s life.

Each soloist has the opportunity to shine through some vocal acrobatics. José Carbó’s magnificent performance of Rodrigo’s aria from the opera Don Carlos was a treat. The welcoming openness of his voice, combined with strong stage presence, were easy to connect with, and his enigmatic baritone felt like being wrapped in a heavy warm blanket in front of a fire with a brandy in your hand. Rebecca Cassidy’s sweet, perfectly executed aria from La forza del destino was liquid honey! And the final performance by Rosario La Spina of “Celeste Aida” proved that luscious, velvety tenor voices can be found in our own back yard in Queensland.

Overall, it was a treat to listen to some arias that are rarely heard on the Brisbane stages, each performed with such class and pizzazz. I could not help but smile as I exited the theatre, thinking about the story of the great Italian composer – of heartbreak, ambition, and triumph.

Look out for Opera Queensland’s 2022 season, which will not disappoint with its selection of full-scale operas and intimate concerts alike.


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