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May 17, 2021

Al-fresco opera hits high note

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Champagne flowed as over 400 opera lovers attended the 16th Opera at The Channon in the picturesque Coronation Park on Saturday.

It was the first year that artists from Opera Australia were featured on the program which was compered by part-time local and artistic director of Opera Australia, Lyndon Terracini.

The day saw culture lovers of all ages turn out in their finest.

Some chose to attend the silver service luncheon, held under a grand marquee, that saw Roger Davy from the Ten Tenors become the singing waiter.

Others set up their own fine dining arrangements on the grounds.

The audience was treated to performances by Opera Australia artists: soprano Sharon Prero, mezzo soprano Victoria Lambourn, tenor Martin Buckingham and bass Pelham Andrews, and Thomas Johnson on piano.

Pelham Andres has sung opera full-time since 2000. He told Echonetdaily that ‘singing outdoors is fun and different as there is no theatre set on stage, in this kind of setting we are at the mercy of the sound desk and microphones’.

Lessons in opera salutes were handed out to the audience by compere Mr Terracini: ‘Bravo for a male, brava for a female!’

Mr Terracini is currently artistic director of Opera Australia and has previously enjoyed a highly successful international career in opera, acting, directing and writing. He is also the founder of the Northern Rivers Performing Arts (NORPA).

‘I started NORPA in 1993 and I still have a house here, they were fun days and it’s great to come back,’ he told Echonetdaily.

‘We tour throughout Australia and go to remote areas. We are in the Northern Territory at the moment with full orchestras.

‘We play to 80,000 school kids a year. People in country areas pay taxes like everyone else so it’s important that everyone has access to the best performing arts possible.’

Lismore MP Thomas George MP supports this accessibility and was instrumental in obtaining a recent $10,000 grant from Destination NSW to contribute to this year’s event.

‘This is a destination event and provides a unique opportunity,’ Mr George told Echonetdaily.

‘I’ll be honest and say that I wouldn’t do it every week but when I do get the opportunity I thoroughly enjoy it.’

Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell is another regular to the event and was having a ‘fantabulous’ time meeting new people.

‘Opera in the Paddock, Opera at the Rock, they are all about bringing people to locations to enjoy the outdoors,’ she told Echonetdaily.

‘I congratulate the Rotary clubs that come together every year to make this happen. It’s great to breathe it in and know we live in the most beautiful place on Earth.’

Prizes were handed out for best picnic table, best dressed man and lady and the oldest person.

The Champagne Song (Strauss) was a fitting all-star encore.

Our House and Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and other local Rotary charities received proceeds from the day.

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