Queensland Ballet Performance of 'Manon'
Queensland Ballet Chair, Ms Julieanne Alroe and Artistic Director, Mr Li Cunxin AO; distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
I would first like to acknowledge the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and extend respectful greetings to Elders, past, present and emerging.
This evening, it is my great pleasure and fortune to be attending this very special performance of Kenneth MacMillan's Manon by the Queensland Ballet.
To be in the audience when Li Cunxin AO returns to the stage alongside his wife, Mary Li, is quite simply a privilege.
It is also an experience that will, no doubt, linger in the hearts and memories of all of us fortunate enough to be in the audience tonight.
And as though being in such prestigious company once today was not enough, this morning Graeme and I also had the great honour of Li accompanying us on a tour of the Queensland Ballet’s marvellous, and newly renovated, Thomas Dixon Centre in West End.
This world-class performing arts centre – with its state-of-the-art theatre, dance studios, wardrobe workshop, and multiple entertainment spaces – is a magnificent addition to the cultural life of Brisbane and the wider Queensland community.
It is thanks to the State and Federal Governments, the Ian Potter Foundation and generous private sector support that it came about on the site where its pioneering namesake – Thomas Dixon – established his tannery and boot-making factories in the late 1800s.
Undeterred by the devastating fire and flooding that threatened to destroy his earlier business enterprises, Dixon engaged well-known architect Richard Gailey – designer of the majestic Regatta Hotel at Toowong – to create the stunning red-brick building we toured today.
Dixon envisaged it being a ‘monument of pluck and indomitable perseverance’, and I have no doubt he would be proud of its modern-day incarnation as the heart and home of the Queensland Ballet.
Graeme and I are thrilled to be here to witness this special performance of Manon – I have no doubt we’re in for a mesmerising evening of world-class ballet.