Opera Queensland today announced a world-first project to give nearly 400 everyday people in eight regional communities the opportunity to perform in the chorus of a new, professionally staged production of La bohème.
‘Project Puccini’ is a hugely ambitious initiative, which will invest $2 million into communities on the Gold Coast and Fraser Coast (Maryborough), and in Toowoomba, Ipswich, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Mount Isa.
Auditions for adults and children to sing and act alongside OperaQ’s principal artists and Queensland Symphony Orchestra musicians start in March 2014, with the La bohème tour running from July to September 2014.
OperaQ will employ a chorus master and rehearsal coordinator from each region and work with local arts centres, theatres, councils and sponsors to ensure the highest standard of performance and personal development opportunities for budding local artists.
An intensive 10-week development program will equip all participants with improved music and drama skills, new social and creative networks, and an increased sense of community, wellbeing and self-esteem.
Arts Minister Ian Walker said the Queensland Government supported Project Puccini and the La bohème regional tour with funding of $399,954 through Arts Queensland’s Playing Queensland Fund.
“Project Puccini offers a unique opportunity for everyday Queenslanders to perform in a professional production,” he said.
“This is an excellent example of our Arts for all Queenslanders commitment in action, delivering more great arts and culture for more Queenslanders.”
Project Puccini is also proudly supported by the Graeme Wood Foundation.
OperaQ Artistic Director Lindy Hume said Project Puccini was the first major undertaking in the company’s Open Stage program, which aims to build creative skills and maintain strong, meaningful relationships with communities across Queensland.
“I am particularly passionate about encouraging excellence in regional arts and we want to seek out and nurture outstanding talent across Queensland,” Ms Hume said.
“We hope our professionally trained local choruses will go on to perform in other cultural and community events, and inter-regional relationships will develop to build artistic collaboration and improve the return on government and private investment in the arts.
“This brand new production of La bohème demonstrates the company’s commitment to excellence in regional Queensland,” Ms Hume said.
Known as the most romantic opera of all time, La bohème appeals to devotees and newcomers alike. Beginning on a snowy Christmas Eve in Paris, it tells the tale of Mimi’s love affair with the poet Rodolfo and their group of rent-dodging flatmates living and loving precariously on the edge of society.
Puccini’s beloved opera will be brought to life by award-winning theatre director Craig Ilott and internationally acclaimed designer Penny Challen.
All Project Puccini participants and supporters can connect online through www.operaQ.com.au/