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Opera Queensland

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Four shows in and we’re wrapped with reviews of our brand new production of La boheme. With stellar praise from The Australian, The Sunday Mail, Courier Mail, Limelight Magazine, Stage Whispers and Arts Hub – this show is a must see!


Daley’s solos are cajoling, powerful and athletic and Hyeseoung Kwon’s arias ring with virtuosity and tenderness.

The production’s set must be portable as the show is touring eight Queensland centres and the simple props and impressive animations by Xin Li and Jimmy Su create vivid environments and blessedly seamless scene changes.

…conductor Guy Noble steers … the Queensland Symphony Orchestra with aplomb.

There’s much to recommend – imaginative design and costuming by Penny Challen, an accomplished children’s chorus, capable acting and a stunning fluency… this La Boheme is a winner.

Gillian Wills, Courier Mail

Puccini’s power to move an audience with his musical brilliance is still overwhelming. Opera Q’s production is a classic example.

Director Craig Ilott, starting with a bare stage, instantly fills it with bustle, quickly establishing the milieu and period, helped by David Walters’ mood appropriate lighting and Penny Challen’s striking set and costume design which included digital backdrops reminiscent of paintings by Gustav Caillebotte. Act three’s snowfall was magical.

Hyeseoung Kwon did not disappoint as Mimi bringing warmth to the character and ultimately pathos in her climatic moments, whilst Emily Burke, a popular favourite with Opera Q audiences, was a spirited and vivacious Musetta. Bradley Daley’s Rodolfo had bravado and sincerity, as did Shaun Booth’s Marcello. A highlight was their act one duet. Andrew Collis, always impressive, was in fine form as Colline.

…played with fervor by musicians from the Queensland Symphony Orchestra under Guy Noble’s baton. The Opera Queensland Chorus not only added numbers to the Latin Quarter and Café Momus scenes, but also a pleasing tonal color.

Peter Pinne, Stage Whispers

Designer Penny Challen’s costumes and set are used to great effect as are the digital backdrops that are designed in partnership with artists from Griffith University’s animations department.

The performances are great … Emily Burke as Musetta gives a wonderfully full-hearted performance

At two hours and 20 minutes in length (which includes a 20 minute interval) – this is an incredibly accessible production. Given the way it shifts from comedy to tragedy to epic love to period piece; it is a great introduction to the opera for those who are looking to dip their toes for the first time.

Colleen Edwards, Arts Hub


Richard Gill’s arrangement for 18 instruments of opera’s ultimate tear-jerker is terrific, and Guy Noble’s conducting beautifully judged, inspiring fine playing from a skeletal Queensland Symphony Orchestra ensemble.

…as the doomed Mimi, Hyeseoung Kwon gives the impression she’s been waiting a long time for this opportunity and grabs it with two tiny frozen hands. Here is a real Puccini soprano, her vocal line arching and sustained, her acting excellent…Alongside her, Bradley Daley as Rodolfo brings a warm and engaging stage presence…

Emily Burke and Shaun Brown provide the tragi-comic counterpoint in full-voiced performances of dysfunctional couple Musetta and Marcello while Andrew Collis makes a great job of the only aria in opera sung in praise of an overcoat.

Martin Buzacott, The Australian

La bohème is worth the price of entry just to watch Kwon alone. As an actor, she is sublime. She is quietly flirtatious, subtly sexy. And yet she is a believably shy and introverted Mimi. Her presence in a room is never too obvious. It’s quite a performance…Truly she is a rising international star.

Emily Burke makes a hilarious Musetta…The male actors were excellent as well, particularly Bradley Daly’s rambunctious Rodolfo.

… absolutely phenomenal work from the costumes department …

It was easily one of the most lively and even humorous versions of any opera – a great introduction for newcomers.

Once again a triumph from Opera Queensland, which has had a consistently brilliant year.  I very much hope rural Queenslanders take full advantage of the tour, as well – the bush may rarely get such a refined and sensitive offering again.

Andrew Messenger, Limelight Magazine