Performing With the Pros

Opera Queensland will combine with a local chorus to perform 'Ruddigore' at the Civic Theatre this week. IMAGE: Supplied

Opera Queensland will stage Gilbert & Sullivan’s Ruddigore (The Witch’s Curse) at the Civic Theatre this Wednesday, with the help of a local chorus of performers under the tutelage of chorus master Rachel Cairns. The concept began in 2014 with Project Puccini, which saw a core team of Opera Queensland cast and crew travel across the state performing Puccini’s La Bohème in regional venues paired with eager local chorus members.

Townsville’s Matthew Palmer said becoming involved in Ruddigore – or Project G&S – was an easy decision to make.

“Auditioning for Ruddigore was a given after doing the first two shows (La Bohème and 2016’s The Barber of Seville) – the opportunity to perform with a bona fide professional opera company is an amazing experience, and something that is pretty rare,” Matthew said.

“We are assigned a local chorus master to rehearse the songs we are going to be singing on stage, and about halfway through the rehearsal period an Opera Queensland representative travels up to
block the show, so it’s important to have the singing as locked in as possible by that stage.

“The basic back story revolves around a family curse that was placed on all Ruddigore Baronets by a witch after one of them burnt her at the stake. The curse dictates they must live a life of crime and commit a dastardly act every day or face an agonising death. The current heir to the curse has been living in disguise to escape his fate, however he is in love with a beautiful local village girl and in the course of his attempted courtship with her the truth comes out – and everything goes pear-shaped.

“If you’ve never been to an opera or think it’s not really your thing, that the stories are too hard to follow or the foreign languages are too off-putting, then Ruddigore is the show to change your view – it’s a Gilbert & Sullivan comedy at its best, and even better the whole thing is in English!”

Catch Opera Queensland’s Ruddigore at the Civic Theatre on 15 August, with tickets available through What’s On Townsville.

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