Opera Queensland is an opera company based in Brisbane, Queensland. The company was founded with funding from the Queensland State Government in 1981, then under the name Lyric Opera of Queensland, after the Queensland Opera Company was closed in December 1980.
Opera Queensland (OperaQ) is the state opera company. It has three activity streams: its major metropolitan productions, its extensive touring program through regional Queensland, and its Education and Engagement programs. OperaQ also nurtures and showcases emerging talent through its OperaQ Studio Project, which encourages the development of new music theatre works.
For the first two years of operation (1982–1983) the Lyric Opera of Queensland performed at Her Majesty's Theatre in Brisbane. The first production, Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe, opened there on 31 July 1982. In 1985, the Lyric Opera moved its productions to the newly opened 2,100 seat Lyric Theatre at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, where it continues to present two of its three main stage opera seasons each year. Smaller productions are staged at the 650 seat Queensland Conservatorium.
In 1996 the company changed its name to Opera Queensland and moved its offices and rehearsal studio into new, purpose-built, premises on South Bank, which it shares with Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University.
- Lisa Gasteen's stage debut (1985)
- Jason Barry-Smith's stage debut in the title role of the Australian premiere of Benjamin Britten's Billy Budd (1993)
- World premiere of Seeking True South (2001) by Stephen Leek and Philip Dean
- Kimm Julian's  debut in 2003 as Scarpia in Giacomo Puccini's Tosca
- Created two chamber operas for children: The Sound Garden, and The Song Bird
- A new production of La bohème (2005) directed by Simon Phillips
- Neil Armfield's productions of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro (2005) and Britten's The Turn of the Screw (2005)
- Kate Miller-Heidke's solo debut (and last opera role) as Flora in The Turn of the Screw
- Gaetano Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor conducted by Richard Bonynge in 2006
- Jerry Hadley's last stage performance (as Pinkerton in Puccini's Madama Butterfly (2007)
- The Love of the Nightingale world premiere (2007)
- Cynthia Makris company debut as Abigaille in Giuseppe Verdi's Nabucco (2007)
Free events performed by Opera Queensland include pre-performance 45 minute talks, performing arias of forthcoming productions in Brisbane's Queen Street Mall, and lunchtime concerts in the Main Auditorium of Brisbane's City Hall.
Exploring Opera! is Opera Queensland’s education program for school students and adult and community groups. In 2008 and 2009, it toured schools with Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel. Other projects include the two-day workshops for primary schools, The Wombat Story and The Storm and What Came of It.
Moving Opera! is a residency program that brings a group of five professional artists (a director, musical director and three singers) into secondary schools. A week-long workshop explores music theatre processes on a variety of levels and provides opportunities for individual and ensemble development. The residency finishes with a performance on the Friday evening. Thanks to corporate sponsorship, Moving Opera! visits regional High Schools in Biloela, Mount Isa, Chinchilla, Ipswich, Emerald, Blackwater, Clermont, and Adelaide.
Towards Opera! is an Italian language opera study project designed for students of Italian in Queensland secondary schools. In 2008, it introduced Puccini's Turandot to students.
Arts Infused presents workshops to primary and secondary school teachers.
OPpreciation gives adult and community groups the opportunity to participate in a range of activities to discover more about opera. Lunch 'n Learn offers a one-hour program at the workplace. Overture to Opera is a one-hour forum with talk and performance for teachers, senior secondary students and adult groups. Exploring Opera! is a radio programme on 4MBS by Opera Queensland's Artistic Administrator, Brad Jarrett.
Choice Voices takes opera into corporate, hospitality and convention markets; it presents tailored concert productions that showcase Queensland's vocal talent.
Young Artist Program
Opera Queensland's Young Artist Program provides young performers the opportunity to refine their professional skills. Opera Queensland's Head of Music, Narelle French, was the inaugural director of this program from 2001–2008. From 2009 baritone Jason Barry-Smith has taken on the role as Director of the Young Artist Program.
Artists participating in this program undertake a weekly schedule of one-on-one repertoire coaching, individual language coaching in major operatic languages including Italian, German, French, Russian and Czech, individual sessions or classes in various movement and stagecraft disciplines such as drama, concert presentation, basic dance, historical gesture and combat. Masterclasses, workshops and private lessons are arranged with visiting specialists such as renowned Australian and international teachers, singers, directors and conductors. A wide range of concert opportunities, featuring both standard operatic and popular or music theatre works, provides performing experience and broadens repertoire and style.
Opera Queensland is jointly supported through funding partnerships with the Australia Council for the Arts and the Queensland State Government. In 2008, the income and expenditure statement amounted to about A$6.6 million; about 34% were box office receipts, and 12% percent derived from private sector contributions. 37% were grants from the Queensland State Government and 8% from the Federal Government.
The Opera Club has many fee paying members; the club offers exclusive invitations and discounted admittance to various events such as Introductory Evenings, Rehearsals, Cocktail Evenings, and the Season Launch function.
The Encore Entertainment program offers corporate clients a specially tailored experience of visiting the opera.
Opera Queensland's Patron Program provides special support for its Young Artists Program and has about 80 members; the required level of donations starts at $500. The Queensland State Government has recently matched donations up to a total of $100,000.
There are about 35 corporate sponsors contributing to various programs, and a Bequest Program can be used to name Opera Queensland as beneficiary in wills.
Tickets to performances are offered in a range of subscriptions, including discounted tickets in the 30 Below program and subsidised last-minute-tickets. There are about 4,000 subscribers.
- "Opera Queensland Presents Season 2009". Australian Stage Online. 4 October 2008. Retrieved 8 November 2008.
- Opera Queensland: "Financial Statements for the year ended 31 December 2008", p. 5
- "Company Profile". Australia Business Arts Foundation. 2005. Archived from the original on 31 August 2007. Retrieved 23 September 2007.