Festival of Outback Opera


Vast horizons and dazzling night skies: Festival of Outback Opera​


“Only the countless stars in the night skies could provide a sufficiently high rating to this stellar event and its long-lasting impact on the lives it touches." 

Limelight Magazine, 2022

An opera festival and Queensland experience unlike any other, the Festival of Outback Opera is a weeklong celebration of open-air concerts, intimate recitals, singalongs and gastronomic delights, bringing together local artists and national opera stars for a truly unique outback adventure.

Glorious horizons and fine music become the perfect pair, as you experience the outback and opera like never before. They will all come together from 16–22 May 2023 in Longreach and Winton, when Opera Queensland’s acclaimed Festival of Outback Opera returns for another year… bigger and better than ever!

This year, the Festival of Outback Opera will return for the third time with a significantly expanded program over the seven days, with the inaugural Long Lunch in Winton on 18 May 2023 and Festival of Outback Opera Gala Ball in Longreach on 21 May 2023. Other major festival events include the concerts, Dark Sky Serenade in Winton on 19 May 2023 and Singing in the Night in Longreach on 20 May 2023. 

Opera Queensland’s new touring production, Lady Sings the Maroons, will also feature in this year’s Festival, celebrating Queensland artists and music including The Saints, Powderfinger, Gladys Moncrieff, Savage Garden, Joe Geia, Kate Miller-Heidke, and Harold Blair. 

Opera Queensland CEO and Artistic Director Patrick Nolan said these events were the perfect way for people to visit Queensland’s unique outback towns and immerse themselves in arts and culture.

“The Festival of Outback Opera was born of Opera Queensland’s belief that audiences, no matter where they are, should have access to performances of the highest quality. Our aim is to connect audiences from all walks of life, bringing them experiences inspired by the unique nature of each location and illuminating the universal joy that singing and storytelling offers,” Mr Nolan said.​
Photographed: Shaun Brown and Ashlyn Timms, Photography by: Frank Mercurio
Photographed: Shaun Brown and Ashlyn Timms
Photography by: Frank Mercurio​
Photographed: Marcus Corowa, Photography by: Jade Ferguson – Visual Poets Society
Photographed: Marcus Corowa
Photography by: Jade Ferguson – Visual Poets Society
You’ll want to sit back and take a deep breath as you immerse yourself in your surroundings and prepare to bask in the talent of acclaimed Australian conductor Vanessa Scammell as she brings her inimitable style and passion to the event. She will lead some of the world’s most incredible voices including Emma Matthews, Katie Stenzel, Milijana Nikolic, Jud Arthur, Carlos E. Bárcenas Ramírez and José Carbó.

The Festival has become a signature cultural event, activating remote and regional communities in new and exciting ways. It is expected to attract travellers from around the world to the region, driving cultural tourism and delivering economic outcomes for local businesses and communities.

Reflecting on this, Mr Nolan observed, “The Festival of Outback Opera is not only a very special event for audiences, but also a critical contributor to Queensland’s regional tourism economy.”

There is no denying the emotional power and energy of the outback, the quality of light and sense of scale, invite us to reflect on our relation to the land and each other. It’s impossible not to be moved and feel somehow changed after a visit to the outback. In the same way, opera creates a space where we can hear and see the world from perspectives beyond our own.

“This festival is an experience like no other; a unique way to enjoy these beautiful outback towns and connect with their communities on a deeper level,” Mr Nolan said.

It’s time to plan your Outback Queensland adventure – don’t miss your chance to experience this unique festival and one of Queensland’s most beautiful regions with tickets on sale now via oq.com.au.

Take the train​

It's the best way to get there! Hop aboard the Spirit of the Outback to Longreach, with direct RailBus connections available to Winton. Book online now 

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