Opera has a fresh face

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - SHOWS -

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.

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