On 15 July 2021, Opera Queensland opened their production of Le nozze di Figaro, with Dane Lam conducting the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and playing fortepiano continuo. This is his first production for the company since his appointment as their Associate Music Director and Resident Conductor in December 2020, and the quality and vibrance of the orchestral playing under his leadership has been particularly commended by critics:
"Maestro Dane Lam managed his orchestral forces strongly, starting with a fine presto overture that kept the action moving, while the Queensland Symphony Orchestra played extremely well. Lam is to be congratulated for taking on the dual role of conductor and continuo fortepiano player for the recitative, making for a demanding evening in the pit."
Suzannah Conway, Limelight Magazine
"Audiences have heard the overture countless times, and orchestras play it again and again, but the care that the conductor, Dane Lam, took over the balance, intonation and phrasing gave this familiar music a champagne sparkle which continued right through the long evening. (There were no cuts in this performance – I had never heard the second dance in the last act before). Crucially, this care for balance was also evident in the vocal ensembles. Like Cosi fan tutte, the first half of Figaro is a virtuosic series of ensembles, not arias, in which characters sing music which reflects their sometimes opposite response to the unfolding situations. These are always various within each trio, quartet, and especially larger ensembles. It is seriously hard to balance these so that every voice can be heard, but Lam not only achieved this consistently, but also ensured that the resulting texture was ravishingly clear."
Nicholas Routley, Australian Stage
"The score’s humor and sadness was beautifully expressed by the orchestra led by Dane Lam. An excellent conductor, his control, was nuanced and lively which contributed enormously to this night of classic opera buffo."
Peter Pinne, Stage Whispers
"Mozart’s score is opulent, familiar and hummable and Dane Lam’s assured conducting demonstrated his affinity with the composer. He steered a responsive orchestra sensitive to the singers."
Gillian Wills, Arts Hub
"It's amazing stuff, brilliantly played under conductor Dane Lam - one of our most exciting young talents."
Phil Brown, The Courier Mail
Photo credit: Jade Ferguson