The Festival of Outback Operais back for a second year and if the enthusiasm of audiences is anything to go by, it is set to become a permanent fixture on the international opera calendar. Outdoor presentations of opera are nothing new, here or abroad. Whether it be at country house opera festivals like Glyndebourne and Grange Park in the UK, the more recent Bayreuth Festspiel Open Air in Germany, or outdoor concerts in places like Broome and Jimbour in Australia, audiences have been enjoying fine music from the comfort of their picnic blankets, monoblocs and lawn chairs for years. What then can be added by taking it as far from human civilisation as possible?

Festival of Outback Opera

The answer is a lot. Stripped of the distractions of the built environment, music comes to the fore, unadulterated by the trappings of opera houses and country estates. The setting is more decorous than decorative, with art and nature coming together in perfect...