Opera has a fresh face
ANEW generation of opera fans is emerging with reality performance shows like The Voice sparking audiences interest in classically trained singers such as Luke Kennedy and Harrison Craig.
Fresh from his tour with friend and former mentor Ricky Martin, Kennedy is thrilled to be headlining the Opera600 as part of V8 Superfest on the Gold Coast.
The Voice 2013 runner-up and former Ten Tenor will perform opera classics, light opera, popera and songs from the show when he takes to the Palm Beach Parklands – also known as Pirate Park – on Saturday.
‘‘The audiences have been so varied and different to what I expected,’’ Kennedy says of his recent tour with Martin.
‘‘It’s really weird because I have been involved in family friendly shows which means there are people from seven and eight years old through to 77 and 78.
‘‘The demographic changes all the time depending on what the gig is.’’
While most expect an older crowd at opera shows, Kennedy says Gold Coasters will be surprised at the turnout for Opera600.
‘‘Fans who have watched The Voice and have loved the music and become opera fans might be there to see me perform in that style and have a really nice afternoon out with the family or their friends,’’ he says. ‘‘People have really crossed over to the genre.’’ Kennedy says his support slot on Martin’s tour has been his biggest career highlight to date.
‘‘A year ago if someone told me the things I am doing now I would have told the they’re dreaming,’’ Kennedy says.
‘‘I would never have imagined that I’d be on tour with Ricky Martin, releasing an album and about to embark on my own tour next month.
‘‘We have been performing to audiences of 15,000 each night and the audiences have been amazing.
‘‘Ricky was my mentor on The Voice and he didn’t have to do this (take me on tour) as well, but it’s just the sort of guy he is and he has become more of a friend than a mentor since we’ve been on the road. He’s just enjoying being on stage and performing again.’’
Kennedy grew up in Townsville where, aged 16, he appeared in a community theatre performance of The Sound of Music.
‘‘I started in community theatre and in my first show I was literally on stage for 45 seconds across both acts,’’ he says.
‘‘It was all singing backstage and being around the musical that made me fall in love with it.’’
Kennedy has since performed lead roles in Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserables, Chicago and was a member of musical ensemble The Ten Tenors, who have toured world-wide.
‘‘That experience with the Ten Tenors has been invaluable to me,’’ Kennedy says.
‘‘It taught me how to be on stage and how to enjoy being up there. It can be daunting and scary but now it has become my happy place and all that matters is that I deliver an amazing vocal performance and the audience is having a great time.
‘‘It will be nice to come off the Ricky tour by doing
Opera600 plays Palm Beach Parklands on Saturday. Luke Kennedy something a bit more classical and enjoy those extremes that I get to explore being a performer.’’
The Opera extravaganza is part of a month-long festival of free and community events which lead up to the Armor All Gold Coast 600.
Audiences can bring rugs, chairs and picnic baskets, and enjoy an afternoon of free opera, cars, food and fireworks beside Currumbin Lagoon from 4pm-7pm.
Luke Kennedy plays Twin Towns, Tweed Heads, Sunday November 10.