Opera Queensland’s 2019 season blooms with ‘A Flowering Tree’

opera queensland a flowering tree
Photo: Opera Queensland

Opera Queensland will begin its 2019 season early next month with Patrick Nolan’s Helpmann Award winning production of A Flowering Tree.

The melodic and contemporary love story by world renowned composer John Adams is performed at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre’s Concert Hall from April 2 to 6.

Inspired by Mozart’s The Magic Flute, A Flowering Tree explores themes of magic, metamorphosis and the healing power of deep and selfless love; a majestic retelling of a traditional southern Indian folk tale, sung in English and Spanish.

The opera recounts the story of Kumudha, a beautiful, young peasant woman with the magical ability to transform herself into a tree covered in exquisite flowers.

A Prince sees Kamudha’s transformation and infatuated by her beauty and magic convinces her to marry him, but arrogance, jealousy and family rivalries drive a wedge between the couple with catastrophic results.

Australian powerhouse soprano Eva Kong plays the transformative Kumudha in the semi-staged production, British-Australian tenor Adrian Dwyer plays the Prince with American bass-baritone Craig Colclough playing the role of Narrator.

The opera was commissioned to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth in 2006 and premiered during the New Crowned Hope festival in Vienna, Austria, with music by leading opera and symphony composer John Adams.

For Opera Queensland’s production, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra will perform the powerful, melodic score with guest conductor – and John Adams specialist – Natalie Murray Beale.

The company’s staging is the first performance of A Flowering Tree in Australia since its 2009 Perth Festival debut, and also Opera Queensland’s first mainstage work directed by Artistic Director and CEO Patrick Nolan.

Mr Nolan says A Flowering Tree – winner of the 2009 Helpmann Award for Best Symphony Orchestra Concert – will showcase the capacity of opera to enliven, inspire and entertain audiences.

A Flowering Tree is not only a beautiful opera, it is a relevant and relatable story for our times,” Nolan said.

“Audiences will be swept away by the imagery, the romance and the magic of this contemporary retelling of a timeless Indian folk tale.”

Working with the QPAC Concert Hall’s scale, Nolan’s production uses a 12 metre high video screen as the central design element.

Nolan is collaborating with Bundaberg-born video designer Mic Gruchy to create a visual world that evokes the mystery and wonder of the story combined with live images of the singers and orchestra.

“The tangible themes of love, death and ritual woven through Opera Queensland’s 2019 season are brought vividly to life in this passionate and beautiful production,” Nolan said.

A Flowering Tree is at the QPAC Concert Hall from April 2 to 6 2019. For details and tickets, visit the website.

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