New opera event coming to Walcha

IT MAY not be Opera in the Paddock, but a new event being held by Opera North West later this year should also provide music lovers with a brilliant outdoors opera experience.

JUST ANNOUNCED: Mezzo-soprano Zoe Taylor, left, baritone Shaun Brown and soprano Milica Ilic on stage at Opera in the Paddock in 2010. Photo: Kate Black

JUST ANNOUNCED: Mezzo-soprano Zoe Taylor, left, baritone Shaun Brown and soprano Milica Ilic on stage at Opera in the Paddock in 2010. Photo: Kate Black

Opera North West artistic director Peta Blyth is thrilled that Barry and Beverly Marshall, who own the historic Italianate mansion Langford at Walcha, will take on the new event, called Opera at Langford.

Mrs Blyth said Walcha Shire Council had been very supportive of holding the event at Walcha.

Opera at Langford will be presented from 5pm on November 15 on the mansion’s verandah, with a pianist, string quartet and at least five singers confirmed so far, including soprano Amanda Windred of Tamworth and mezzo-soprano Ruth Strutt (originally from Uralla), plus Brisbane’s John Woods. The public can pack their own picnic basket or buy hampers at the event. 

A dinner in the Langford dining room will also be available following the performance; a dinner and show package is $55 per person. 

Opera in the Paddock, the region’s signature operatic event, was cancelled earlier this year because of a lack of funds.

The event, which had been held outdoors every March at Peta and Bill Blyth’s property Mimosa, near Delungra, since 2002, was sadly cancelled this year because corporate sponsorship had dropped off and Inverell Shire Council had halved its funding.

Mrs Blyth said it was a relief to be able to be doing another opera event, although “it obviously won’t be starting at the same level”. 

“Too much has been built up not to be able to continue (in some form),” she said.

Community groups, business owners and people from Walcha interested in becoming involved with Opera at Langford are invited to a morning tea on Monday at the Walcha Shire Council chambers from 11am. 

“The purpose of the gathering on Monday is to involve the community as much as we can, as we see that this event could bring huge benefits to the town in the long term,” Mrs Blyth said.

“This involvement would not include the organisation or management of the event, but may initially include catering, accommodation and fundraising opportunities.” 

Mrs Blyth said bookings for Opera at Langford would open online soon at www.operainthepaddock.com.au

She said flagship funding for marketing had been provided by Destination NSW.

Call 6724 8561 for more information.

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