Opera in the Paddock founder gives insight into annual event

I think it’s become more important to me and to the family because it’s something we’ve created and it grows each year. - Peta Blyth

From its first performance in 2002, this Saturday, Opera in the Paddock is again hosting young and accomplished talent to share their music, as audience members from the Inverell district share in the experience with visitors from up and down the eastern seaboard. We took a few minutes to visit with Opera North West artistic director and event founder Peta Blyth about the event, which attracts international talent, its history and some personal questions about how it all happens. 

HER ELEMENT: Peta Blyth in that famous paddock, dressed down for everyday farm living, but soon frocking up for Saturday's opera. Photo: Sandy McNaughton

HER ELEMENT: Peta Blyth in that famous paddock, dressed down for everyday farm living, but soon frocking up for Saturday's opera. Photo: Sandy McNaughton

Has Opera in the Paddock become more personal to you as the years have passed, and why? I think it’s become more important to me and to the family because it’s something we’ve created and it grows each year. And to be able to present these wonderful performers- it’s a tremendous satisfaction. 

What is the hardest part of getting the event happening? I think bringing together all the elements. It’s not just music, it’s the logistics, and it’s every element. You think you’ve finished everything, and you’ve got more – still more, coming through. 

How do you choose the repertoire? In consultation with the other singers, and with the conductor. It’s really important to get an accessible program that is fun for people-a little bit of serious stuff and then a great fun selection at the end. And I do spend a lot of time on that, barbecue it’s like bringing together a work of art. It’s got to work.

What is your favourite part of the entire experience? I think when it all goes well together and people have heard some fantastic music, had a wonderful time, the feedback, and thinking you have contributed something here.

Is it hard to balance Opera North West and part of the running of an active farm? Well, sadly not for me, but for Bill (Peta’s husband), definitely. It’s quite a juggle because timing is very important in farming, and also the running of  this event; it’s on a timeline, so it is a juggle. 

What is your go-to warm up for rehearsing? I always warm up – I have to warm up. It’s a muscle, so you’ve got to make sure things are in tune. I like to warm up with the piano basically, in a room away from people. 

What keeps you inspired to keep the event alive and thriving?  I think the challenge of the music; there’s such wonderful selections of music, and to be able to present these, and have a cultural event that employs many local original musicians, and it’s a great cultural regional event.

Peta said she felt the paddock offers an accessible place to share time with friends, to bring a picnic, and enjoy themselves. For bookings and enquiries: www.operainthepaddock.com.au or phone 1800 240 301.

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