Just more than two decades ago the now director of Opera Australia, Lyndon Terracini, started NORPA.
I remember this well because I was in their first few shows, the most notable being as a sex-working nurse hand-stimulating a cop in the front seat of a broken-down vehicle in The Cars That Ate Paris.
Terracini has always been an innovator. Not a small thinker, he’s a creative practitioner who thinks so far outside the box that sometimes the box ceases to exist.
Terracini credits his prestigious appointment at Australia’s premier opera company with the tenacity and passion that was needed to not only launch but maintain a viable regional theatre company: NORPA.
‘When we started NORPA we had hardly any money. A few people in Lismore said that the North Coast Theatre company had been wound up; why not start a theatre company. I thought it was a bad idea, and I thought structures of theatre in regional Australia were changing. NORPA started and it was about making shows and bringing shows to the region, which it still does.
It was off the wall at the time and the people responded to it. It was always difficult. The hardest gig in the arts is regional theatre! All the stuff I learnt at NORPA is why I am doing this job. If I hadn’t started there, and figured how to raise money and create events, I possibly wouldn’t be doing things such as creating opera events on Sydney Harbour!’
That being said, the now Sydney-based Terracini is bringing the cast of Opera Australia to Lismore to raise money for NORPA after the damage they sustained in the recent floods.
‘I am coming as the MC, and we have arias from Marriage of Figaro, and we will be doing the hits from our other operas. We are bringing the orchestra and going the whole hog!’ laughs Lyndon.
A one-time local, Lyndon is still passionate about the northern rivers and the vast tapestry of unconventional thinkers and eccentrics.
‘It has a different feel from anywhere else in Australia,’ he says. ‘There are more lunatics per square inch in the northern rivers than anywhere. They come up with extraordinary ideas… where else in the world where would the archangel Michael turn up and not be able to spell! I love that. I have a great fondness for the whole region.’
Arias, duets, choruses form the soundtrack to emotional moments in movies and powerful advertisements – this is the greatest music ever written. Hearing it live and unamplified is an unforgettable experience. Come help raise money as the greatest singers in the country raise their voices. This Thursday at Lismore City Hall.
Tickets $50 at www.norpa.org.au or call 1300 066 772. Additional donations can be made when purchasing tickets and are hugely appreciated. Bar and diner open from 6pm.