Five Helpmann Awards in 2015 sets Brisbane Baroque on pathway to success

After scooping the pool at this year’s Helpmann Awards with an unprecedented five wins, the successful Brisbane Baroque has unveiled it’s 2016 program, an expanded season in its second year showcasing international stars and a host of emerging Australian musicians, set to run from April 8 until April 16. (beautiful imagery, shots of the launch and interviews all avail on request!)

After the 2015 centrepiece, a production of a rare Handel opera imported from the famous Handel festival in Gottingen, famously anchored last year’s festival, organisers have followed up with another rarity, Handel’s first Italian Opera, Agrippina.

“It’s a cheeky production,” said Brisbane Baroque Artistic Director Leo Schofield. “And the story of the scheming Roman empress with all of its sexual intrigue and political playing, will resonate with contemporary audiences. We have a superb international cast. It’s a masterpiece, Handel’s first Italian opera and the first complete staging in Australia.”

“They say you’re only as good as your last, howwver in our case, we believe we’re only as good as our next.”

Other highlights of the program include:

• A three-part celebration of the music of ANTONIO VIVALDI
• The debut of the acclaimed baroque mezzo, VIVICA GENAUX
• The Australia debut of the sensational Iranian-American harpsichord virtuoso MAHAN ESFAHANI
• Appearances by rising Australian star soprano GRETA BRADMAN
• A semi-staged performance of Henry Purcell’s rarely performed opera KING ARTHUR
• Three concerts with Brisbane’s celebrated chamber orchestra, CAMERATA OF ST JOHN’S, stars of the 2015 event.
• The return of the wildly popular 5 x 5 x5 @ 5 series featuring exclusively Queensland/Brisbane-based musicians.
• Nine FREE recitals and talks.
• Performances in two of Brisbane’s ecclesiastical architectural icons, St. John’s Cathedral and St. Brigid’s, Red Hill.
• Major emphasis on YOUNG PERFORMERS – 30 UNDER 30

Executive Director Jarrod Carland said the bar was set incredibly high in 2015. “Winning five Helpmann Awards for the 2015 event has given us a great boost, but it’s also a challenge. Brisbane wholeheartedly embraced its first baroque festival and we have every reason to believe that it will grow into a substantial cultural asset for Brisbane and Queensland; there’s already strong international interest from artists and potential audience members.”

Brisbane Baroque runs from April 8 until April 16 2016.
For further information and bookings go to

About Brisbane Baroque
· Brisbane Baroque is a new festival celebrating the music of the baroque era, the period in Western European art and music from about 1600 to 1750. It is the fulfillment of a dream for the organisers, Artistic Director Leo Schofield AM and Executive Producer Jarrod Carland.
· The inaugural event in April 2015 was an exceptional success. The central performance of Handel’s rare opera won five Helpmann Awards – an unprecedented honour for a fledgling classical music festival.
· Awards were for Best Opera, Best Direction in an Opera, Best Performance by a female singer in a Leading Role, Best Performance by a female singer in a Supporting Role and Best Performance by a male singer in a Supporting Role.
· Given the success of Brisbane Baroque 2015, it became clear that this was an event with significant image and economic potential for Queensland. The inaugural event drew significant numbers of interstate visitors that with the longer lead time for 2016, are bound to swell.
· Brisbane Baroque is the only annual professional festival of music of the baroque, an era of unmatched creative energy and currently one of the major growth sectors in the classical music world.

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