The fresh face of Brisbane opera has come a long way
In the northern Hungarian city of Miskolc, there's an impressive theatre with five stages and a busy program of opera, ballet, drama and music every day of the week. In the sleepy, seaside suburb of Sandgate, there's a pretty, heritage-listed town hall with pressed tin walls and ceilings, and an events schedule dominated by community groups and amateur theatre nights.
The connection between the two is soprano Judit Molnar. She's a Hungarian talent who has settled in Brisbane with her husband Zoltan and is one of the headline acts at Sandgate's annual Music by the Sea festival in January.
Judit was a regular on the Miskolc stage, and at theatres across Europe, but she's nevertheless excited to be part of the highly regarded Sandgate event.
Despite an exhausting 36-hour journey, Hungarian soprano Judit Molna ́r was in good spirits when she arrived in Canberra on Tuesday afternoon. The dry chill of pressurised air cabins can play havoc with singers’ voices but she was well-prepared with warm clothes and plenty of water. It’s just as well for, in a few days, she will step onto the stage in front of the largest audience in her short career.
Soprano is Hungary for more
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Prom Concert Canberra
IN THE PRESS
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Opera is a loaded word, often viewed within a 19th century context and associated with performance in grand purpose-built arts venues. The Underground Opera Company’s “Opera in the Reservoir” twists these expectations through presentation of opera as you have never seen or heard it before … in one of Brisbane’s historical landmarks, deep down below the Windmill Tower (one of only two buildings to survive from the Moreton Bay penal settlement) in reservoirs unused for 50 years until last year’s inaugural Underground Opera event...
Singer on song in the suburbs
The streets are alive with the sound of music, at least in the Indooroopilly street where opera singer Dania Cornelius lives.
Ms Cornelius can be heard putting on an inad- vertent show for the neigh- bours when she’s in training for a performance, most recently for Verdi’s Women, in which she starred along Toowong soprano Judit Molnar at the weekend.
Ms Cornelius has been a core member of Opera Queensland’s chorus since 1997 and is blessed to have classic music lovers in her street.
“My neighbours on either side love it so I’m very lucky,” she said.
“They always know when I’m working on something new.
“They’re a bit like, ‘Ooh, she’s not happy with that one, she’s going again.’ ”
With more than 30 pro- ductions with Opera Queensland to her name, Ms Cornelius also gets to ex- plore her more contempor- ary side in her role as vocal teacher at the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts.
“A lot of that is R’n’B and contemporary. I had to teach a Beyonce song the other day,” she said.
“Rihanna will come into it eventually.”
Until then, her neigh- bours can expect to hear her training for the Bach So- ciety’s performance of Beet- hoven’s Cantata on the Death of Joseph II in June.