Season Opening Night Reception and Performance of ‘Swan Lake’
Thank you for your very warm welcome, Rhonda – it is a particular pleasure for Kaye and me to be able to share the great excitement of opening night of this latest in the growing list of successful international seasons presented by QPAC and Tourism and Events Queensland. It is particularly wonderful that we join in welcoming American Ballet Theatre to Australia. Along with, I am told, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-eight other people, we are looking forward immensely to tonight’s performance.
As committed supporters of the arts, Kaye and I watched with great interest in recent years as QPAC made its initial forays into international programming: we were inspired to see the Paris Opera Ballet, the National Ballet of Cuba, and several of the world’s great orchestras come to Brisbane.
That interest quickly turned to pride as we saw our performing arts centre gain an international reputation for excellence in undertaking and managing such major projects; and we saw the Board and management use that early success and experience to take the bold step of not only creating the International Series in partnership with Tourism and Events Queensland, but also offering performances and productions which were exclusive to QPAC – a master-stroke of negotiation and a real boon to marketing. That enterprise has guaranteed thousands of visitors to Brisbane and other areas of this uniquely memorable State.
It was also very pleasing to see the Centre take the responsibility implicit in its name as the Queensland performing arts centre, building the expertise of local artists and arts workers through its residency model, and – of tremendous significance – ensuring a legacy for all Queenslanders by simulcasting performances to regional centres. (In this connection, as someone who spent much of his childhood in regional Queensland, I am particularly pleased that tomorrow night’s performance of Swan Lake will be beamed out to no fewer than nine regional centres – this is much more than just a gesture; it is vital to enhancing the health, wellbeing and resilience of regional communities, something to which I give particularly importance and priority as your Governor.)
And so we see it: in just three years, the collaboration between QPAC and Tourism and Events Queensland has become a truly remarkable partnership, a partnership which has given us, first, the exceptional season of opera and ballet, and orchestral music from the home companies of the Hamburg State Opera House, and then within a year (an extraordinarily short time-frame!), Russia’s Bolshoi Ballet in Australia for the first time in almost twenty years.
And now twenty-fourteen: just when we thought these magicians could not possibly pull any more rabbits out of the hat, they have brought the wondrous American Ballet Theatre to Australia for the very first time, with offerings from the repertoire which has made it the premier contemporary and classical ballet company in the United States, and one of the world’s most admired and emulated; and what a wonderful opportunity for our own renowned QSO to be supporting these performances.
Thank you, Mr Ambassador, for your support in facilitating this magnificent season; and thank you to the company for gracing the Queensland and Australian arts landscape in this fantastic way.
In the end, this is all a truly outstanding Queensland success story. On behalf of all Queenslanders, I congratulate the Board and management of QPAC and of Tourism and Events Queensland on the continued success of the partnership. I warmly thank all concerned for bringing the twenty-fourteen International Series to fruition and for enriching our lives in this way.