I’m a bit of a cynic about Valentine’s Day. Yes, I’m one of those people who decries it as totally over-commercialised, but this delightful recital by mezzo-soprano Hayley Sugars, sensitively accompanied by Opera Queensland’s Narelle French, completely melted my curmudgeonly Valentine’s thoughts.

Hayley Sugars. Photograph courtesy of Opera Queensland

If you’ve seen any of Opera Queensland’s performances, you may well have encountered Hayley Sugars, particularly as Donna Elvira in their 2018 production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Late last year, I was lucky enough to see and rave about a similar Opera Queensland recitalby soprano Alexandra Flood, accompanied by Alex Raineri. These recitals are an excellent idea, since not only does it mean that OQ has an opportunity to introduce its singers to the public, but it’s also so, so refreshing to see such short, sharp, cohesive performances.

For each of these 2020 Opera Queensland recitals (there are several more on the way), Patrick Nolan, Artistic Director and CEO of OQ, invited singers to choose their favourite songs. The resulting theme for this recital was, naturally enough for a Valentine’s day concert, Sugars’ favourite love songs, giving us an entertainingly varied combination...