Growing up I never had the opportunity to experience Opera, other than the classic musical ‘Phantom of the Opera’ which I don’t count as true opera. As Sam Roberts-Smith discussed throughout the show, Opera is about more than voice and emotion, it reveals character and plot just as easily and with such memorable style. After first being introduced to Opera a couple of years ago, it is now one of my favourite genres of theatre.
Last year Opera in the Park performed a short show and this year I was expecting much of the same. For the big 50 year anniversary, however, audiences were treated to a taste of several different styles of Opera. The songs of choice were familiar to even the most novice Opera listener, giving them something to draw them in and allow them to enjoy the new experience.
The star-studded line-up included Fiona Campbell, Virgilio Marino, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Emma Pearson, and, of course, our host Sam Roberts-Smith. Accompanied by the talented West Australian Opera Chorus and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, the performance was truly enjoyable. Several moments, particularly Pearson and Campbell’s duet, gave me goosebumps which I could not blame on wind chill. The familiar melodies joined with charismatic voices and captivated the audience, sending them humming their way home with grins plastered on their faces.
What I love most about Opera in the Park is the concept: Giving audiences around Western Australia an opportunity to experience the wonder of Opera. Music is so accepting but there are many who feel excluded. Reaching out and providing those less fortunate with accessibility, affordability, and a welcoming experience gives back to the community and makes audiences feel included. Opera has a reputation for being prestigious but it is for everyone.
I was genuinely surprised at the overflowing crowd, with such attractions like Fringe World running at the same time, but Opera in the Park is a once a year extravaganza and this event is something I will continue to gush over. I highly recommend seeing a WAO performance this year, even if you think it’s not for you. Opera is surprising, and often you don’t release how much you enjoy something until you’ve tried it.
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