1st Concert for 2018 season2:30 & 7:30pm
Arguably the most anticipated of the Queensland Pops Orchestra’s ‘flagship’ concert series, the “Best of British” concerts unfurl with all the pomp and pageantry of London’s legendary “Last Night of the Proms” concerts which inspired them. There’s something very special (and very British!) about these hugely popular shows. They’re a celebration – not of real British history, with all its achievement, conquest and villainy – but rather a fun-filled ‘music hall’ version that wouldn’t be complete without barefoot seamen and Union-Jack-draped sopranos – and no mention of slaves other than those that Britons shall never, never, never be!
The stars of Best of British 2018 are soprano Elizabeth Lewis and bass-baritone Sam Hartley – a truly dynamic duo and a class act in every sense. Both are rising stars in the Australian operatic firmament. Winner of the Marten Bequest Scholarship 2017 from the Australia Council for the Arts, Elizabeth is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University. In 2015 she was the winner of The Opera Foundation for young Australians Lady Fairfax New York Scholarship and the 2015 Sydney Opera House Award. A 2017 highlight for Elizabeth came on 27 October, when she made her debut as Rosalinda in the US Fargo Opera production of Die Fledermaus at North Dakota State University’s Reinke Concert Hall.
Bass-baritone Sam Hartley graduated from the Queensland Conservatorium with a Bachelor of Music in 2001, and was a recipient of the QCGU’s Elizabeth Muir Scholarship. Sam has been a member of the Opera Queensland chorus since 2002, and he spent two years singing with the Opera Australia chorus before spending a year studying in Germany. Sam also has a love of music theatre, and has performed widely in Australia as a concert hall soloist, bringing his distinctive timbre to some of the world’s best-loved classical masterworks, including Bach’s Magnificat and Mozart’s Requiem.
Whether it's flag-waving, fancy dress or shout-outs, Best of British 2018 allows the audience to celebrate ‘themselves’ with a grand party – in which they feel they are as much a part of the show as the performers on stage (which of course has always been the Pops’ modus operandi since day one).
Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 (containing the immortal Land of Hope and Glory) and Hubert Parry’s Jerusalem were early highlights in a concert tradition that began way back in 1895, but it wasn’t until the Queen’s coronation year 1953 that the Fantasia on British Sea Songs (featuring the audience favourite, the Sailor’s Hornpipe), was included as one of the programme’s three fixed elements. This is a show that ticks all the boxes: rousing popular music, a lively audience, a charismatic conductor in the form of maestro Patrick Pickett, and Australia’s most entertaining orchestra under his baton … a hit formula that has won over Brisbane music lovers for more than thirty years!
Be treated to arias and songs as intoxicating as champagne, when Elizabeth and Sam join forces to ignite the passions of some of the greatest opera and theatre standards of all time. As has become a proud and long-standing Queensland Pops Orchestra tradition, gutsy flag-waving, hearty singalongs and plenty of on-stage magic will make this Best of British 2018 showcase a real night to remember.