Opening Night Performance of Brisbane Baroque – the Australian premiere of George Frideric Handel’s 'Faramondo'
I too acknowledge Senator Brandis and you all, and thank QPAC for its invitation to experience the first Brisbane performance of Faramondo. I am delighted to be at this inaugural performance of the Brisbane Baroque festival.
As we have just seen, Faramondo’s version of Europe in the fifth century features a surfeit of kings, a plethora of tribes with unpronounceable names, much falling in love at first sight, lust, treachery, and a last-minute reprieve from death, courtesy of the switching of babies at birth.
Baroque composers like Handel have been criticised for such convoluted plots. But that is surely unfair, given that no writer of twenty-first century soap operas would find these devices unusual or outlandish.
And, in any case, we have the clever re-staging of the acclaimed 2014 Göttingen International Handel Festival production to lead us through the plot’s twists and turns.
As an audience, we are only too willing to suspend any lingering disbelief in order to hear Handel’s glorious music bring the story to life. His wonderful, memorable, yet technically demanding vocal and instrumental score leads us through a range of emotions from tender expressions of love to the highest of high drama.
We are deeply indebted to the soloists, ensemble and crew for our enjoyment of tonight’s performance of Faramondo. I congratulate all of them on their outstanding musicianship, creativity, technical skill and professionalism. The music may have been written nearly two hundred and eighty years ago, but they brought it vividly to life.
We are indebted also to the partners and supporters of this festival for making Faramondo and Brisbane Baroque possible. I thank all three levels of government, presenting partner QPAC, and a host of production partners and, of course, Artistic Director Leo Schofield AM and Executive Director Jarrod Carland, for their vision and energy in bringing the festival to Brisbane.
May I say to you particularly Mr Schofield, we are here in Queensland, as always, the most grateful beneficiaries of your absolutely splendid productions, indeed in this case, esoteric.
I do hope, I am most confident, that Brisbane audiences eagerly grasp the opportunity to experience the festival’s rich banquet of wonderful Baroque music. And I warmly wish Faramondo and the festival every success.