LISTEN TO SOARING SOPRANOS WITH SAND BETWEEN YOUR TOES
When AnnaLouise Cole takes centre stage in the legendary Egyptian opera Aida flanked by live camels, Gold Coast audiences won’t have to imagine the sand between their toes.
With bright lights, explosive drama and a sandy setting, Verdi’s famous opera is the perfect choice for the Coolangatta setting, according to Anna-Louise.
The event follows on from the incredible success of The Magic Flute, which was staged at Greenmount Beach in 2014.
“I love that opera on the beach is so democratic,” AnnaLouise says.
“Ticket prices are so reasonable and you’re getting a fully staged opera with all the wonderful sets and costumes while you sit there in the sand.”
With more than 50 of Anna-Louise’s family and friends from both sides of the border coming along to watch her play the principal role of Aida – which she shares with Natalie Aroyan – you’d better get in quick to secure your spot.
Although this will be her first time performing in Opera on the Beach, Anna-Louise is no stranger to the glitter strip.
It was the location of many a beloved childhood holiday and she still comes back for her yearly dose of Gold Coast as an adult with her in-laws living in the Tweed.
“I remember going to Ripley’s and Currumbin Sanctuary and getting covered with birds,” Anna-Louise says.
“I had two younger sisters who were blown away by the dolphins at Sea World but what I’ll always remember is the surf.
“I remember going to Broadbeach when I was 11 and even though I was a good swimmer and I was between the flags I still got blown off my feet.
“I know you remember things as being bigger than they actually are as a child but I’ve gone back as an adult and no, it’s still full on.”
In much the same way Anna-Louise is wowed by the swell, audiences are sure to be overcome by the powerful soprano.
Although she sang throughout high school and graduated from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Anna-Louise spent a decade as a public servant before becoming a professional opera singer.
Throughout her years working on social policy as a bureaucrat, Anna-Louise, now 36, continued singing on smaller productions with Melbourne Opera and Victorian Opera before finally gathering the courage to audition for Opera Australia.
“It is an enormous machine with so much expertise. I was blown away by this as a little public servant,” AnnaLouise says.
“I spent the first three years in the chorus and then moved from Melbourne to Sydney to start with them full time just over two years ago.
“I have a voice on the louder end of the scale and they say the bigger the voice the longer it takes to develop.
“You wouldn’t want to attempt the lead in Aida at much younger than I am.
“You simply wouldn’t have the life experience or physical stamina.”
As well as the seven principle performers, a community chorus of 50 volunteers, many with years of experience, have been chosen from the local region to support them.
A full-size orchestra will perform in harmony with the crashing waves and fireworks will detonate throughout the explosive tale.
Aida will be performed traditionally in Italian with surtitles with the English translation to be projected on to large screens for the audience.
Anna-Louise doesn’t believe the language barrier should be a reason for first time opera goers to stay away and neither should the weather.
“If you’re interested in a spectacular night out then Aida is it,” Anna-Louise says.
“There’s a love triangle, a jealous princess trying to win the heart of the head of the army and a war between Egypt and Ethiopia.
“And, yes, we do sing in the rain if it is just a shower. The costumes and the wigs are specially made to withstand it. It’s actually quite fun.”
Aida Opera on the beach will show from September 21 to 30 at Coolangatta. Chairs will be provided in the premium and Areserve sections only. Other ticket holders can bring blankets or lowset beach chairs with a height of less than 80cm. Tickets start at $35. Visit opera.org.au/whatson/events/aida-on-the-beach
TICKET PRICES ARE SO REASONABLE AND YOU’RE GETTING A FULLY STAGED OPERA WITH ALL THE WONDERFUL SETS AND COSTUMES WHILE YOU SIT THERE IN THE SAND
Opera Australia's Anna-Louise Cole will star in Verdi’s operatic classic Aida, which is being staged on the beach at Coolangatta complete with a full-size orchestra and fireworks.