Australia’s prima diva Emma Matthews will thrill Brisbane audiences when she graces the stage of the Lyric Theatre, QPAC in Bizet’s classic opera The Pearlfishers, presented by Opera Queensland for a two-week season from 25 May to 3 June 2017.

The multi award-winning soprano reprises the role of Léïla, after critically acclaimed performances in the Opera Australia and West Australian Opera seasons of the production. Ms Matthews has received more Helpmann Awards than any other individual artist, nine Green Room Awards, the Mo Award, the Remy Martin Australian Opera Award, and was recently named Limelight Magazine’s Australian Artist of the Year for 2016.

She’s joined by tenor Aldo Di Toro, bass Andrew Collis, and London-based Australian baritone Grant Doyle in his OperaQ debut, directed by Michael Gow, with award winning designs by Robert Kemp and Matt Scott, supported by The Queensland Symphony Orchestra and the Opera Queensland Chorus, conducted by Graham Abbott.

OperaQ Artistic Director Lindy Hume believes the beautiful and exotic grand opera will be a joy for opera lovers and soon-to-be opera lovers alike.

The Pearlfishers has not been seen in Queensland for 15 years, so opera lovers will relish the return of its famous duet ‘Au fond du temple saint’ and the compelling story of love, obsession, friendship and greed, which has been a perennial favourite with Australian audiences”, Ms Hume said.

“‘Au fond du temple saint’ is one of the most beautiful duets in Western opera and definitely one of the most well-known. It’s a deeply moving ode to friendship and we’re excited to rekindle this powerful melody.”

As well as opera lovers, OperaQ is committed to encouraging new opera audiences to experience Bizet’s grand opera.

“For those who have never been to an opera, we will be releasing 2,500 tickets to The Pearlfishers for $25* on Wednesday 26 April. We want opera to be accessible to everyone and this is an excellent opportunity for newcomers to see a classic production with a world class cast, for a low ticket price”, Ms Hume said.

The Pearlfishers story takes place during pearl diving season in colonial Ceylon where old friends Zurga and Nadir reminisce about Léïla, a woman they both loved and who re-enters their lives when racketeer Nourabad brings a beautiful priestess to bless the fishermen.

Georges Bizet’s famous opera has been reinterpreted many times since its first performance on 30 September 1863 at the Théâtre Lyrique in Paris. In this production, director Michael Gow gives it a new lease of life, while the vivid sets and ornate costumes by set and costume designer Robert Kemp evoke the exotic and enchanting setting of colonial Ceylon.

The Pearlfishers season also includes several supporting events, including a spectacular fine-dining experience on the rooftop at Rydges South Bank prior to opening night, nightly pre-performance talks, and a premium pre-performance entertainment package at The Spice Market Cocktail Party on the QPAC Rooftop Terrace on Thursday 1 June.

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