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Opera hopefuls get opportunity

ENCOURAGING SMILE: Jason Barry-Smith gives Karana Downs nine-year-old Savannah Foran-McDaniel some tips while she auditions in Ipswich Civic Centre.
ENCOURAGING SMILE: Jason Barry-Smith gives Karana Downs nine-year-old Savannah Foran-McDaniel some tips while she auditions in Ipswich Civic Centre. Sarah Harvey

IPSWICH performers of all types are taking their shot at performing in the chorus of a new concert production of Puccini's La bohème.

In Project Puccini, an initiative by Opera Queensland, 36 adults and 12 children from Ipswich will be chosen to form a chorus to sing in Italian and act alongside OperaQ's principal artists and musicians from Queensland Symphony Orchestra.

Ipswich is one of eight regional communities involved in Project Puccini.

It is an ambitious initiative which will train 48 people in each region to sing and act beside OperaQ's principal artists and Queensland Symphony Orchestra's musicians.

Auditions in Ipswich started yesterday and continue today and tomorrow in the Ipswich Civic Centre.

Successful chorus members will take part in a 10-week development program before performing in La bohème in Ipswich Civic Centre on August 12.

Savannah Foran-McDaniel from Karana Downs was the first to audition yesterday, singing Castle on a Cloud from Les Miserables.

After an uncertain start, Savannah sang well, encouraged by OperaQ Open Stage creative director Jason Barry-Smith.

Savannah told him: "Ever since I was little, I wanted to be on stage."

Jason Barry-Smith is wholehearted about Project Puccini.

"We've done four lots of these auditions and we've seen the most extraordinary people," he said.

"We've heard some people who sing in very different styles - singer/songwriters with guitars and glorious voices, totally useful for the project - as well as people with operatic training, as well as music teachers.

"One of the guys who auditioned in Mt Isa was Rob Katter, Bob Katter's son and he was great ... he really sang beautifully.

He said the opportunities for successful chorus members were boundless.

"It's not just all of the musical stuff, the language training and the stagecraft but they will make bonds with the people they'll be working with that will last a lifetime.

"What we want to see is people who are passionate about making music and working with other people."

See operaq.com.au.

Topics:  la boboheme, opera queensland, project puccini


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