Reception in honour of the Bolshoi Ballet and the QPAC International Series
Deputy Premier, the Honourable Jackie Trad MP; representing our Arts Minister, Mr Jamie Merrick; Chair of the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Professor Peter Coaldrake; Chair of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Mr Chris Freeman; Honorary Consul-General of Russia, Mrs Irina Bruk; distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that Kaye and I warmly welcome you to Government House today.
I at once acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which we gather. I pay my respects to their Elders, and indeed all Elders with us, and present with encouragement to their young emerging leaders.
To our esteemed artists, and the administrators of the Bolshoi Ballet, a very special and warm welcome to Queensland to you all.
A warm welcome; you have spent a lot of time already indoors at the Lyric Theatre. We hope there will be much time outdoors also; as you have seen, the winters in Russia are quite a bit colder than our temperate winters here!
The past week has been an absolute highlight and joy for Queenslanders who appreciate the finest ballet and music.
Many more fortunate Australians have come from outside our brilliant Queensland to beautiful Brisbane specially to see you.
Not just one, but two exceptional productions by the spellbinding Bolshoi Ballet performed exclusively at our QPAC!
My wife Kaye and I were fortunate to attend both gala performances and be swept up in the grandeur and excitement of seeing what is one of the world’s greatest ballet companies performing right here on the Lyric Theatre stage in Brisbane, Queensland.
The rousing ovations and numerous curtain calls – including before intervals – were indeed so well-earned by the dancers on stage, and I say to all involved in these productions, congratulations on your role in bringing these works of art to life. The audience response was nothing short of rapturous.
I also congratulate the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, our QSO, for the musical accompaniment for both ballets, and for doing so with characteristic and absolute brilliance.
I know our guests from Russia will agree, our QSO really is world class. And how moved we all were to hear the QSO deliver the two national anthems!
And to QPAC, congratulations! This is now the tenth year of the QPAC International Series and with each passing season we not only come to expect the best, but are continually awed by the magnitude – and audacity – of your dream, that wonderful dream, to bring the world’s leading arts companies to Queensland.
I thank also your QPAC International Series partners, including the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland, and Minter Ellison.
Major events such as this should be enjoyed by as many Queenslanders as possible.
I am, therefore, very pleased to note that regional Queenslanders will have the opportunity to participate in the Bolshoi Ballet season via a live simulcast this coming Saturday. I am sure many around the state are looking forward to this event. What a delight that will be for our regional compatriots.
To our friends from the Bolshoi Ballet, I hope you continue to enjoy your time in Queensland.
Kaye and I hope that your demanding regime will allow for our wonderful Queensland hospitality on offer today – from wild caught, tempura prawns to some rather delicately constructed choux swans packed with delicious Queensland strawberries and cream!
Now, I may have challenged our excellent translator with those terms, but there will be no challenge to you, dancers, in consuming these Queensland delicacies.
Please, enjoy your afternoon here at Government House.
[Delivered at the conclusion of the reception]
Ladies and gentlemen,
What a glittering occasion this has been! – as we have recalled such a range of emotions; from the brutal command of Spartacus, the ultimate brutality of Crassus, that is, to the rapturously gossamer threads of Jewels.
Leo Schofield warned me during the interval to anticipate the pas de deux in act three of Spartacus as something ethereally brilliant – and of course it was!
We Queenslanders have been so privileged this afternoon to meet in person such exceptionally talented creative artists.
Thank you to the dancers, the company, QPAC and the QSO. And thank you all, ladies and gentlemen, for gracing Government House by your presence this afternoon.