Opera hits high note with 70 auditioning for Project Puccini

Cyndi Thomson (with Jason Barry-Smith on piano) during auditions for Opera Qld's production of La Boheme at the Rockhampton Pilbeam Theatre. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin
Cyndi Thomson (with Jason Barry-Smith on piano) during auditions for Opera Qld's production of La Boheme at the Rockhampton Pilbeam Theatre. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill ROK110414sopera1

CYNDI Thomson works in cartography.

She is hoping her latest vocal venture could map a new course for her artistic career.

The talented Rockhampton performer was among the first of more than 70 budding artists who auditioned for a prized role in the chorus of Opera Queensland's production of La bohème.

Rockhampton is one of eight regional centres chosen for the world-first Project Puccini.

The ambitious initiative will allow 48 people (36 adults and 12 children) from each of the regions to sing and act alongside OperaQ's principal artists and Queensland Symphony Orchestra musicians in the much-loved opera.

Cyndi sang the traditional English folk song Greensleeves for her audition on Friday.

A regular with the Rockhampton Little Theatre and the Rockhampton Musical Union Choir, she did the audition to help broaden her musical horizons.

"This is such a different project for Rockhampton," she said, after running through a series of scales at the piano with La bohème's assistant director Jason Barry-Smith.

"We have a lot of dramas and musicals - but an opera? The community doesn't get the chance to be a part of that so I was really keen to come and give it a go."

Locals will know within a fortnight if they have earned a position in the chorus.

The successful artists will then take part in a 10-week development program before the opera is performed at the Pilbeam Theatre on Saturday, August 23.

Jason, who is also the director of Open Stage at OperaQ, said it was a fantastic opportunity for local talent to shine. The chorus takes centre stage in act 2 and part of act 3 of the four-act opera.

He said La bohème was a tragic love story that would be sure to move Rockhampton audiences.

"It's beautiful, absolutely gorgeous. And the music ... there will not be a dry eye in the house," he said.

"You would have to have no heart to come and see La bohème and not be affected by it."


La bohème is an Italian opera in four acts.

It tells the story of a love affair between a poor poet and an equally poor seamstress in 19th-century Paris.

Arturo Toscanini conducted the first performance of La bohème on February 1, 1896, at the Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy.

The opera was adapted to a movie in 1965 and the 1996 Broadway musical, Rent.

Topics:  opera project puccini singing

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