Under Patrick Nolan’s artistic directorship, last year’s Festival of Outback Opera set the bar incredibly high in its mission to enrich rural communities through the power of music.

Could the success of previous years be matched, or even bettered?

The answer is a resounding ‘yes’ on both counts.

Festivals rely on regular attendees who are prepared to make the annual pilgrimage, and they succeed when familiarity of location and fixture is tempered by an element of surprise. Nolan and his team excel at such incremental growth, building an itinerary around headline events that warrant a place on the international opera calendar.

This year, the outdoor concerts were back in their iconic locations, with Dark Sky Serenade at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs atop Winton’s 75-metre-tall mesa, while Singing in the Night was nestled between herds of cattle on the 18,000-acre Camden Park Station outside Longreach. Both concerts were lit by Bernie Tan-Hayes, whose cathedral of light set off an already spectacular starry sky. The effect was breathtaking.

Opera Queensland’s Festival of Outback Opera 2023. Photo © Glenn Hunt

Starry, Starry Nights