Opera Queensland took some of Australia’s finest singers and a 16-piece string orchestra to stirring outback locations, creating a unique musical experience. 

Story Paula Heelan   Photos Jade Ferguson

The second annual Festival of Outback Opera unfolded across five shires in outback Queensland in May. A cast and crew presented a mix of musical events, including two open-sky concerts at Winton and Longreach, and four performances of The Sopranos. 

With the support of local councils and the Queensland Government, Opera Queensland brought more than 50 artists and crew members to Winton, Longreach, Barcaldine, Barcoo, Blackall, Tambo and Windorah. Not just about high-calibre performances, the festival included community singalongs called Sing Sing Sing and a program of school workshops, public panels and pop-up street performances. “We were keen to take over the outback for that short time to allow everyone from all walks of life a chance to experience and share in the joy of music,” says Opera Queensland’s director of learning, regional and community, Mark Taylor. “We knew our audience was growing and so we looked at more outback locations, experiences and charter flights to fly people in and out for a concert.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #144

Outback Magazine: August/September 2022