What’s On: Lorelei (Opera Queensland)


6 – 13 March 2021

QPAC Concert Hall

This production contains coarse language and adult themes. Recommended for ages 15+. 

By arrangement with Victorian Opera, Opera Queensland presents the much-anticipated Queensland premier of new Australian opera cabaret Lorelei, after being postponed in 2020. The sumptuous, female-led production tells the story of the Lorelei, three sirens of song who sit atop the cliffs, singing  sailors to their watery graves. Moral dilemmas arise, however, for the irresistible sirens: Are they tiring of singing sailors to their deaths? Do they really deserve to die? 

Image credit: Jade Ferguson @visualpoetssociety. Provided by Opera Queensland.

The boundary-breaking work was conceived by Helpmann Award-winner and ARIA nominee Ali McGregor, who wanted to reimagine the ancient myth for a modern audience. Opera Queensland Artistic Director & CEO Patrick Nolan said Ms McGregor would be joined by original cast members Dimity Shepherd and Antoinette Halloran for the Brisbane season. 

“When preparing for our 2021 season we didn’t think twice about reprogramming Lorelei,” Mr Nolan said. “It has moments of joy and humour; the music is beautiful – sensual and enchanting in equal measure – and it stars three of the most exciting female performers working in Australia today.  Lorelei’s upbeat energy is just what we need to see after the year we have had.” 

Image credit: Jade Ferguson @visualpoetssociety. Provided by Opera Queensland.

Julian Langdon created Lorelei’s contemporary score and librettists Casey Bennetto (Keating! The Musical) and Gillian Cosgriff wrote the sharp and witty lyrics – the resulting work traverses musical genres across tango, pop and classical. 

Ms McGregor said the creative partnership with her two classically trained co-stars began in 2005 when she created a genre crossing Spiegeltent show, The Opera Burlesque, designed to “bring opera to a slightly more debauched arena”. 

Image credit: Jade Ferguson @visualpoetssociety. Provided by Opera Queensland.

“We had a huge amount of fun usurping the traditional opera stereotypes we found ourselves in,” Ms McGregor said. “I’ve always been fascinated by this myth because in literature, as in life, we have often seen feminine sensuality blamed for the downfall of man. We see this a lot in the storylines of traditional opera so I’ve loved getting to do something on stage that I feel matters and perform in a role I can relate to. What we’ve created is something really special: a 75-minute cabaret-opera that’s accessible for all audiences.” 

Image credit: Jade Ferguson @visualpoetssociety. Provided by Opera Queensland.

Lorelei is sung in English and staged in the Concert Hall, QPAC, with Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

For ticketing and further information, visit the Opera Queensland website

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