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6 May, 2021

It's Opera, but not as we know it

Opera meets Country, what would appear to be a most unlikely combination is set to light up and entertain audiences in Far North Queensland.

By Peter McCullagh

Are You Lonesome Tonight - Opera Queensland

Opera Queensland’s production of Are You Lonesome Tonight combines some of the most iconic operatic arias with country music classics.

Are You Lonesome Tonight weaves a story about life on the road through the arias of composers such as Puccini and Verdi and songs by Slim Dusty and Dolly Parton, to name just a few.


Directed by Laura Hansford, alongside designer Penny Challen, the star-studded cast includes soprano Irena Lysiuk, Marcus Corowa and Jonathan Hickey.

‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’ celebrates all that Opera and Country music have in common – artists, composers, and librettists across both artforms understanding the power of storytelling, sharing many common themes of profound love, heartache and triumph in the face of adversity.

Opera QLD: Irena Lysiuk
Irena Lysiuk: Opera QLD

Mark Taylor from Opera Queensland sees similarities between Opera and Country.

“There’s an old saying that Country music is loving, fighting, drinking and cussing. There’s not a great deal of cussing in Opera, but the other three really represent opera,” he said.

Are You Lonesome Tonight Director Laura Hansford said the tour was equal parts a celebration of opera and of country tunes, forming a creative and eclectic ensemble of iconic music.

Jonathan Hickey: Opera QLD
Jonathan Hickey: Opera QLD

“There is something for everybody, we love that audiences will get a mix of both opera and country music and a bit of something in between,” Ms Hansford said.

“Good music doesn’t belong to a genre, it belongs to the people and the landscapes that we will be embracing wholeheartedly when we perform to audiences across Queensland.”

Come in your jeans and boots or your tuxedos and ballgowns – this is opera that is diverse, accessible and exciting.

The Far North Queensland leg of the tour kicks off at the Cairns Performing Arts Centre next Tuesday night, before moving south to the iconic Innisfail Shire Hall on Wednesday Night.

Marcus Corowa: Opera QLD
Marcus Corowa: Opera QLD

Thursday night they perform at the TYTO Wetlands in Ingham before moving to Townsville and performing on Friday night at the Queensland Country Bank Stadium, home of the NQ Cowboys.

‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’ marks Opera Queensland’s 40th anniversary with the most extensive tour in the company’s history, visiting nearly 30 communities across Queensland.

The tour is proudly supported by Beef Australia.

Are You Lonesome Tonight - Opera QLD
Are You Lonesome Tonight - Opera QLD

Are You Lonesome Tonight Tour Dates:

Cairns Cairns Performing Arts Centre Tuesday, 11 May
Innisfail Innisfail Shire Hall Wednesday, May 12
Ingham TYTO Wetlands Thursday, May 13
Townsville Queensland Country Bank Stadium Friday, May 14
Mount Isa Xstrata Entertainment Centre Tuesday, May 18
Winton Waltzing Matilda Centre Thursday, May 20
Longreach Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame Sunday, May 23
Barcaldine Barcaldine Showgrounds Monday, May 24
Blackall Blackall Woolscour Tuesday, May 25
Windorah Windorah Rodeo Grounds Thursday, May 27
Quilpie Baldy Top Saturday, May 29
Charleville Charleville Showgrounds Sunday, May 30
Cunnamulla Paroo Shire Hall Lawn Monday, May 31
St. George St. George Amphitheatre Tuesday, June 1
Goondiwindi Goondiwindi-Waggamba Community Centre Thursday, June 3
Warwick Warwick Showgrounds Friday, June 4
Stanthorpe Weeroona Park Band Shell Saturday, June 5
Redland City Redland Performing Arts Centre Sunday, June 6
Toowoomba Armitage Centre, Empire Theatres Wednesday, June 9
Beaudesert The Centre Thursday, June 10
Caloundra The Events Centre Saturday, June 12
Kingaroy Kingaroy Town Hall Tuesday, June 15
Maryborough Brolga Theatre Foyer Wednesday, June 16
Bundaberg The Moncrieff Theatre Thursday, June 17
Gold Coast The Southport School Sunday, June 20
Redcliffe Redcliffe Entertainment Centre Wednesday, June 23
Roma Roma Saleyards Friday, June 25
Brisbane Brisbane Racing Club Sunday, June 27

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