Karratha kids experience the magic of opera

22 August 2019

(photo: ABC Pilbara – used with permission)

St Paul’s Primary School choir members enjoyed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity last week, performing alongside some of the nation’s finest opera singers in Opera Australia’s Madama Butterfly at Karratha’s Red Earth Arts Precinct. 

The experience came about through Opera Australia’s Children’s Chorus program, which gave 20 children in each community visited on the regional tour of Madama Butterfly the chance to perform as the chorus. 

Standing sidebyside with the professionals, the children felt the magic of taking a curtain call and receiving the instant positive feedback of applause from their family and friends in the audience.  

Opera Australia collaborated with the local venue and St Paul’s music teacher Jamil Osman, providing all the materials and assistance required to train the children for Puccini’s popular opera beforehand. 

An Opera Australia Chorus Master travelled to Karratha to help the children rehearse onstage with the professional cast and orchestra, before they performed in costume that night. 

Through the rehearsal and performance process Opera Australia hopes the children gain a wider understanding of opera, which will then park interest in future artistic pursuits. 

Mr Osman said the children learnt Italian for their roles in the choir. 

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he told ABC Pilbara. 

“This takes it to a whole different level and it’s something they will remember for the rest of their lives.”  

The audience of Karratha locals, parents, children and friends of those in the choir gave the  performance a standing ovation. 

Opera Australia promotes Madama Butterfly as a love story that reaches across cultures, across oceans, across time. 

It features the aria ‘Un bel , vedremo‘ and the Humming Chorus, along with Japanese and American musical themes.

One of Australia’s greatest theatrical minds, John Bell, directed this production, complete with beautiful costumes and sets. 

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