Townsville locals prepare to share the stage with some of Australia’s finest singers

@JCU Townsville locals prepare to share the stage with some of Australia’s finest singers

Townsville locals prepare to share the stage with some of Australia’s finest singers


For 30 Townsville locals the dream of performing in a grand opera has become a reality after being selected for Opera Queensland's Project Rossini.

Successful participants will now take part in a program of free professional training in singing, dancing, stagecraft and Italian language skills, before taking to the Civic Theatre stage to sing in the chorus of Gioacchino Rossini’s The Barber of Seville on Wednesday 17 August, alongside Opera Queensland’s principal artists and with the support of an ensemble from Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

The OperaQ team travelled more than 8,000km throughout Queensland undertaking auditions, which saw hundreds of aspiring singers from eight centres across the state audition for a place in the chorus, with 128 women and 112 men getting through in total.

Some of the amazing talent selected in The Civic Theatre Chorus includes a mental health nurse, a woman who lost half a lung to cancer and a zoo keeper who sometimes appears as a mermaid as part of her job, to name a few.

OperaQ Artistic Director Lindy Hume said 2014’s Project Puccini transformed the lives of hundreds of Queenslanders and she could not wait to see what Project Rossini had in store.

“We do a lot of work around the state and time and time again we are blown away by the amount of talent Queensland has,” Ms Hume said.

“Our regional choruses are made up of some incredibly inspiring people from wonderfully diverse backgrounds, from an 80s pop singer turned animal refuge volunteer, to a 71-year-old retired architect who started his singing journey at age 55. 

The Barber of Seville celebrates its 200th birthday this year. It’s the ideal opera for first timers and seasoned opera goers, and I think our chorus members are going to love the experience of singing Rossini’s effervescent music and learning to dance the fandango.” 

OperaQ’s new production of The Barber of Seville is a co-production with Seattle Opera and New Zealand Opera. It will be presented at QPAC’s Playhouse with The Opera Queensland Chorus in Brisbane from 9 to 23 July 2016, before hitting the road across Queensland for the rest of the month and throughout August.  Performances in the USA and New Zealand follow in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Directed by Lindy Hume and under the baton of Roland Peelman, Rossini’s opera is a rollicking fiesta of sunny Spanish madness, telling the story of the dashing Count Almaviva who, ably abetted by Figaro, wins the heart of the sassy young maiden Rosina and rescues her from an arranged marriage to her crusty old guardian Bartolo.

Project Rossini/The Barber of Seville is supported by the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland’s Playing Queensland Fund and by the performing arts centre in each community.

Cast and crew

  • Conductor: Roland Peelman
  • Director: Lindy Hume
  • Assistant Director: Jason Barry-Smith
  • Designer: Tracy Grant Lord
  • Lighting Designer: Matthew Marshall
  • Head of Music: Narelle French
  • Fandango choreographer: Rafael Bonachela*

*by arrangement with Sydney Dance Company

Musicians from Queensland Symphony Orchestra

  • Figaro: Brett Carter/Shaun Brown
  • Count Almaviva: Virgilio Marino/Jaewoo Kim
  • Rosina: Monique Latemore/Katie Stenzel
  • Dr Bartolo: Andrew Collis
  • Basilio: David Hibbard
  • Berta: Emily Burke
  • Fiorello: Shaun Brown/Matthew Broadbent
  • Ambrogio: Brian Lucas
  • Flamenco guitar: Andrew Veivers

Touring Dates

  • Friday 29 and Saturday 30 July, The Arts Centre Gold Coast
  • Wednesday 3 August, Brolga Theatre, Maryborough (Fraser Coast)
  • Saturday 6 August, Pilbeam Theatre, Rockhampton
  • Wednesday 10 August, Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre
  • Saturday 13 August, Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre
  • Wednesday 17 August, Civic Theatre, Townsville
  • Friday 19 August, Cairns  
  • Wednesday 24 August, The Empire Theatre, Toowoomba.

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