Queensland Light Opera Company archive

In the early 1990s the historical Queensland Light Opera Company donated its rich archive of scores, photographs, programmes and production notes to State Library. The donation provided a detailed and entertaining picture of operatic activity in Brisbane from the early 1960s to the late 1980s.  

In the early 1990s the historical Queensland Light Opera Company donated its rich archive of scores, photographs, programmes and production notes to State Library. The donation provided a detailed and entertaining picture of operatic activity in Brisbane from the early 1960s to the late 1980s.   

No! No! Nanette 1964

Queensland Light Opera Company was formed in 1962 as an amateur Gilbert and Sullivan company, and many Brisbane singers took to the stage for the first time as cast members in these early productions. Others also developed their skills, as small orchestra players, directors, producers, designers or backstage crew. 

In the 1970s the Company broadened its repertoire and received State government funding. Under the direction of David McFarlane, already well known as the director of music at the Anglican Church Grammar School, the Company was transformed into a semi-professional concern, and in additional to Gilbert and Sullivan light operas, it also presented The Student Prince, White Horse Inn, Kiss Me Kate, Samson and Delilah and many others. Artist Max Hurley was the talented theatrical designer for most of these productions. 

In the 1970s the Company broadened its repertoire and received State government funding. Under the direction of David McFarlane, already well known as the director of music at the Anglican Church Grammar School, the Company was transformed into a semi-professional concern, and in additional to Gilbert and Sullivan light operas, it also presented The Student Prince, White Horse Inn, Kiss Me Kate, Samson and Delilah and many others. Artist Max Hurley was the talented theatrical designer for most of these productions. 

The Queensland Light Opera Company continued to operate successfully into the 1980s, until its funding was withdrawn in 1982. It reappeared in 1983 under the auspices of the Queensland Light Opera Trust as The Brisbane Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, then as the Brisbane Light Opera Company, until its final curtain call in late 1990.

The Queensland Light Opera Company continued to operate successfully into the 1980s, until its funding was withdrawn in 1982. It reappeared in 1983 under the auspices of the Queensland Light Opera Trust as The Brisbane Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, then as the Brisbane Light Opera Company, until its final curtain call in late 1990.

While some of the material, such as press releases, posters, flyers and subscription promotions reflect the public face of QLOC, much of the donation reveals the inner workings of the Company. Costume measurements, ticketing allocations, lighting plans, cast lists, advertising invoices, opening night VIP lists and a reservoir of glorious production photos provide a documentary narrative for shows such as Yeoman of the Guard, No! No! Nanette and Cosi Fan Tutte, and give shape to the working lives of the many singers, musicians, production staff and administrators who pulled together countless productions over the Company’s 30-year lifespan.  

To highlight the Queensland Light Opera Company donation, the next event in State Library’s regular Tea & Music series has an operatic theme. On Tuesday morning 29 November at 10.30am, soprano D’Arne Sleeman, tenor Bernard Wheaton, and pianist Mark Leung will present Lovely Light Opera - a delightful selection of Light Opera classics.

To highlight the Queensland Light Opera Company donation, the next event in State Library’s regular Tea & Music series has an operatic theme. On Tuesday morning 29 November at 10.30am, soprano D’Arne Sleeman, tenor Bernard Wheaton, and pianist Mark Leung will present Lovely Light Opera - a delightful selection of Light Opera classics. 

Waltz into the festive season and book a ticket for Tea & Music through QTIX qtix.com.au 136 246 or The Library Shop.

Robyn Hamilton - Queensland Music Coordinator - Queensland Memory

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How can i contact the above now ?

Having recently returned to live in Brisbane after several years, I am on the lookout for a traditional amateur G&S Society, such as is often on show in several other parts of Australia, e.g. Newcastle, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney & Melbourne, but evidently not anymore in this city of my adoption.When I last lived in Brisbane I was delightfully aware of The Ignatians, who sported the musical directorial talents of Peter Swannell, last heard of as my VC at USQ. The 'Iggies' sported some very competent G&S performers, such as Fr Greg Jordan SJ, who once played the part of Katisha (or was it the Fairy Queen in Iolanthe?) in The Mikado. His performance brought the house down!Sadly, the attention of many of our musical societies has turned to a more modern repertoire, which is often better known for its novelty rather than its enduring entertainment value. I suspect this has something to do with the search for new talent, which, in most schools tends to cater to musical tastes from the 'pop' genre.Does anyone here know of an organisation with more traditional classical, 'old time', operetta-ish tastes? I would dearly love to join!

Hi Michael. I don't know of any G&S this year apart from Opera Queensland who are presenting Ruddigore in July. You could try Savoyards or Queensland Musical Theatre. Beenleigh Theatre Group sometimes put on a musical and Brisbane Arts Theatre are doing Sweeney Todd and A funny thing happened on the way to the forum if you fancy some Sondheim.

The correct spelling of the founder' name is David Macfarlane.

Extremely disappointed that my father, John Warner receives no mention in anything to do with the QLOC, after spending many years & countless hours as Administrator, PR Manager, performer and the person who essentially kept the company afloat. I guess he had the misfortune of passing away before the internet had taken off, so history has been rewritten according to those who survive. He was also a key board member& performer with the Queensland Opera Company which became Lyric Opera of Qld, which in turn became the present Opera Qld. He was also the first Government appointed member of the Queensland Performing Arts Trust.

DAVID McFARLANEHow can I contact the above now?

This is his daughter, Laura. Dad lives in Sydney now, but is moving to Brisbane this month. Contact me on lkmacf@gmail.com if you still wish to get in touch with him.