Opera Queensland opens its anticipated 2019 season 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 (QPAC’s) Concert Hall from 2 to 6 April.
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 Queensland Symphony Orchestra will perform the powerful, melodic score under the baton of internationally renowned guest conductor – and John Adams specialist – Natalie Murray Beale, who makes her Opera Queensland debut and commences her Artist in Residence position within the company.
The company’s staging of the breakthrough work marks not only the first performance of A Flowering Tree in Australia since its 2009 Perth Festival debut but also Opera Queensland’s first mainstage work directed by Artistic Director and CEO Patrick Nolan. He says A Flowering Tree – winner of the 2009 Helpmann Award for Best Symphony Orchestra Concert – will showcase the vast capacity of opera to enliven, inspire and entertain. “A Flowering Tree is not only a beautiful opera, it is a relevant and relatable story for our times,” Patrick says. “Audiences will be swept away by the imagery, the romance and the magic of this contemporary retelling of a timeless Indian folk tale.”
The opera was commissioned to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth in 2006 and premiered during the New Crowned Hopefestival in Vienna, Austria. Composer John Adams is considered to be one of the world’s leading opera and symphony composers alive today, with his work being presented in opera houses and concert halls across the planet.
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