Fest to showcase operatic offerings

March 4, 2024 BY

Reprise: Between 80 and 100 local performers are expected to take part in the Ballarat Opera Festival, many of whom performed in last year’s Big Sing concert. Photo: SUPPLIED

THE region’s vocal and choral character is set to be explored throughout 2024 with the return of the Ballarat Opera Festival.

Launching this Thursday through Victorian Opera, the festival calendar will see three programs of performances held through the year.

Victorian Opera’s artistic director Stuart Maunder invited everyone from diehard opera fans to less familiar with the style to attend a show.

“At Victorian Opera we seriously like to celebrate our artists, our artform, our audience, and Ballarat,” he said.

“With three exciting offerings throughout 2024, we look forward to building our audience, showcasing new talent, giving local artists the chance to collaborate, giving students their first taste of our glorious artform and all the while discovering new challenges and learnings.”

The festival’s first offering will begin with three performances of Dreamtime show Parrwang Lifts the Sky at Civic Hall on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 May.

A discussion with the show’s creator Deborah Cheetham Fraillon will also take place on the Saturday at 12pm.

Following that, a fundraising recital for the Ballarat Arts Foundation called Celebration in Song will take place on Sunday 9 June.

The Big Sing, held last year in June as a key event in signalling the festival’s revival, will return as a Christmas-themed event on Sunday 1 December from 1pm, also at Civic Hall.

Victorian Opera’s education manager and Ballarat Opera Festival project lead Tim Ryan said each show will highlight the region’s operatic side.

Parrwang Lifts the Sky is a Wadawurrung creation story that’ll be performed as part of Heritage Festival,” he said.

“It’ll explore the ancient culture of Ballarat with textiles from local First Nations artist Deanne Gilson.

“The BAF fundraiser will showcase our opera prize winners sponsored by two local Ballarat gentlemen and raise important funds for the local organisation.

“Then there’s our Big Sing performance which includes the Ballarat Symphony Orchestra and Ballarat Choral Society which is a partnership involving local groups and the community in singalongs.”

Tickets to the Big Sing show are set to be available via Victorian Opera’s website following the launch while the remaining performances can already be booked at the Her Majesty’s website.