QPac's La Boheme is set in Paris in 1914

QPac’s La Boheme is set in Paris in 1914

Premier Newman tonight launched OperaQ’s 2014 program at the Spiegeltent on the Cultural Forecourt at Southbank, a hop step and a jump from Westender’s home base on Boundary Street.

Themed Life Less Ordinary, Der Spiegeltent was the perfect venue and the sultry presentation of La Boheme was the perfect tease.

The news of the night though was the announcement that next year’s Brisbane Festival will be the third city in the world to host the new Philip Glass opera The Perfect American. An ode to Disney, Warhol and Glass himself, Brisbanites will get to see the piece before it is ever performed in America. It has been commissioned for Philip Glass’ 75th birthday. It will play in London and Madrid before coming to Brisbane.

Premier Newman opens the OperaQ 2014 season

Premier Newman opens the OperaQ 2014 season

In a multi-layered, self-referential and possibly-accidental piece of post-modernism, Premier Newman followed the opening number from Rigoletto, described by OperaQ Artistic Director, Lindy Hume as “a representation of the corruption of power based on the sex parties and plastic surgery-enhanced smile of Silvio Berlusconi.”

A smile had been brought to the Premier’s lips by tenor Rosario La Spina’s description of the opera’s central character as “being able to get whatever he wanted and wanting women, well, pretty much all of the time.”

As is fitting in the Spiegeltent, sex was pretty much the topic of the evening. The characters from La Boheme were in the audience, egging everyone on to indulgent heights of enthusiasm and then burst into Puccini’s romantic opera that climaxed with a snow machine blanketing parts of the audience in white foam.

The well dressed and somewhat formal crowd left highly satisfied, thoroughly titillated and nicely warmed by a glass or two of free bubbly.

The light show at the South bank forecourt is a sight to behold, so even if you cannot afford the dramatic and musical events of the Brisbane Festival, grab the kids, grandma or the dog and take a walk down there on dusk.