An Aria a Day
From May 8
Opera Queensland has consulted some of Australia’s most revered music specialists to prescribe an uplifting and invigorating course of free online performances in An Aria a Day. Theatres and concert halls may be closed, but opera continues to ring through the homes and hearts of Australians, uniting people through song during this time of isolation.
An Aria a Day launched on Friday 8 May with Opera Queensland releasing a new performance on the company’s social media channels every day, celebrating the diversity and power of opera and demonstrating the strength and resilience of Australia’s artistic community.
Filmed in the backyards, bathrooms, kitchens and living rooms of artists across the globe, An Aria A Day offers audiences at home front row seats to some of the greatest arias of all time for free. Opera Queensland Artistic Director & CEO Patrick Nolan said the program reflected the company’s commitment to redefining opera for 21st century audiences.
“As an opera company, we’ve had to completely rethink the way we do business,” Nolan said. “Unable to bring our work to physical audiences in theatres, it’s crucial to imagine how we continue to share our work in other ways and continue to support our artists financially.”
More than 40 singers are confirmed so far, including award-winning New York-based Australian soprano Rachelle Durkin (Tosca), acclaimed tenor Adrian Dwyer (A Flowering Tree), multiple Helpmann and Green Room Award-winning mezzo-soprano Jacqueline Dark (The Ring Cycle), and several rising stars including local talents Irena Lysiuk, Brenton Spiteri and Katie Stenzel.
“Our brief to the artists was simply ‘sing us something you love’ and it’s returned the most wonderful collection of music, from opera classics like ‘Nessun dorma’ from Puccini’s Turandot to a wildly irreverent 16th century autoerotic folk song!” Nolan said. He added that relocating the art form’s biggest anthems from the world’s opera houses into the singers’ homes revealed the songs in a new and intimate way.
“Opera can often be larger than life, so when you take some of these songs out of concert halls and strip back layers of technical production, you still have the “wow” factor of the singers talent and technique and at the same time are introduced to the performers in a very real and tender way. Great performers are always generous in what they give, and this makes this so apparent. Adrian Dwyer for example, has performed in many of the world’s most revered opera houses, yet for An Aria A Day, we see him at home in a Hawaiian shirt busting out some Verdi on his ukulele. It’s just lovely.”
Importantly, all the singers are remunerated for their participation, Nolan said.
“Paid performance opportunities at this time are scarce, so An Aria A Day provides some much needed income for an industry devastated by the ongoing COVID-19 situation,” Nolan said. “It’s art that is keeping the world sane at this time. The books we’re getting lost in, the movies and television series we’re binging on; the music that’s transporting us – these don’t come out of nowhere. They take years of practice, dedication and skill.”
Opera Queensland has commissioned talented Australian artists and musicians to deliver a daily dose of music and performance to engage, inspire and unite audiences from all walks of life. An Aria a Day celebrates the diversity and power of opera; encapsulates the emotion and storytelling of the artform; and demonstrates the passion, strength and resilience of Australia’s artistic community.