#SheInspires Director of ‘The Sopranos’ Laura Hansford

March 25, 2022

Bold & Rebellious – the Future of Opera Queensland

Bold and rebellious women are front and centre in Opera Queensland’s first main stage production of 2022. This concept had SheSociety intrigued with Opera usually ending in a tragic and violent setting for women within the realms of Opera. 

Opera Queensland under the direction of Patrick Nolan, have always led the way in asking important questions and listening to the answers when it comes to women and the central role they play in the history and future of opera. 

Patrick often discusses the history of females in opera having a complex dynamic with an absence of women composers, conductors and creators – making it a challenging yet much needed conversation to have. 

Opera Queensland’s first main stage production of 2022 is the world premiere of The Sopranos, which is a thrilling new work examining the representation and contribution of women throughout the history of Opera. Written by Australian poet and Author Sarah Holland-Batt has written The Sopranos which will incorporate the collaboration with dramaturg Jane Sheldon; Queensland Symphony Orchestra conductor Jessica Gethin; set designer Marg Horwell, costume designers Karen Cochet and Bianca Bulley, lighting designer Christine Felmingham and co-director Laura Hansford with Opera Queensland Artistic Director Patrick Nolan.

The repertoire for The Sopranos has been chosen from across the history of opera, from Monteverdi right through to contemporary 21st Century Australian work written by women.  

Speaking with co-director Laura Hansford, her love for the Opera and The Sopranos was apparent from her energy and ardour she had in describing the creative process and execution of The Sopranos. Staged in two thematic parts, the first act addresses the challenges and crises women have faced in opera and the second examines their strength and tenacity in responding to those challenges. 

Stepping into her role as co-director is one that Laura will do with such passion and power for the production of The Sopranos, having started with Opera Queensland many years ago in a stage management role, this is an opportunity that will kick off her year in the performing arts industry with exhilaration. 

Always interested in the way a story is told, Laura knew that Opera, although never an industry she thought she would find herself in, would be an amazing opportunity. Having always had a love for stories, Laura loves the unique way in which an Opera explores story telling as it gives so much more to the tensions and tragedies that can be explored further through the music that accompanies the craft of an Opera story. This passion and love has allowed Laura to explore positions within opera Queensland and now work in the role of co-director within the company.

Laura explains that The Sopranos explores tensions between female characters who suffer tragic or violent fates and those who rebel against their social constraints, what is consistent throughout is the tremendous power and virtuosity of the female voice.

When asked what her favourite part of this piece of work is, she says to watch out for the amazing Opera Queensland chorus singing a piece of music about a true story of 16 Carmilite nuns who were sent to the guillotine. 

Laura explained the power of Opera comes with the tragedy. Usually the big notes and pieces of music that are most popular are those that are based around tragic or violent fates awaiting the females,  however these bring the tension and important stories to life with the extravagant high notes and cadences which are the popular traits of all famous Operas. This particular piece will give goosebumps as the chorus brings to life this tragic yet heroic and powerful story of women to life.

The Sopranos is the hot ticket to get to kick off the start of what looks like an amazing season for Opera Queensland 2022.

 

THE SOPRANOS 

Presented by Opera Queensland in association with Queensland Symphony Orchestra 

29 March – 2 April 2022 

Complimentary pre-performance talks are held on 30 March, 1 April & 2 April. 

QPAC Concert Hall, cnr Grey and Melbourne Streets South Brisbane  

Approximately 2.5 hours including interval 

Sung in several languages with English subtitles. 

Tickets $43 – $135 at oq.com.au/whats-on/the-sopranos/ 

 

Creative Team 

Concept Sarah Holland-Batt & Patrick Nolan 

Written by Sarah Holland-Batt 

Conductor Jessica Gethin 

Director Laura Hansford & Patrick Nolan 

Set Design Marg Horwell 

Costumes Karen Cochet & Bianca Bulley 

Lighting Christine Felmingham 

 

Cast 

Lisa Harper-Brown 

Leanne Kenneally 

Sarah Crane 

Eva Kong 

Hayley Sugars 

Eleanor Greenwood 

Katie Stenzel 

José Carbó 

Shaun Brown

 

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