In 1967 I travelled to London with some friends on a working holiday. Prior to that time there was very little opera in Perth and I had never actually been to an opera. During our time in London we went to Covent Garden and the English National Opera. As I ended up living there for nearly 11 years I went to many wonderful performances. When it was time for me to return to Perth in October, 1977 I was feeling sad as I thought it would be the end of my enjoyment of live opera performances. However, I was delighted to find there was a WA Opera company, and soon after my arrival I went with family to a performance of, I think, Carmen, which was performed at the Perth Concert Hall. At that time His Majesty’s Theatre was in the process of being done up and eventually of course then commenced the wonderful history of opera performances at that venue.
I was most impressed with the quality of the productions which were as good as those I had seen in London.
At that time, 1978, the Labour Government subsidised the Arts, and we were able to book the three operas performed each year, for about $60 – that’s right, about $20 per opera. However, since that time the prices of course have risen quite markedly which means, as I am now retired and on the Age Pension, I don’t get to see as many operas as I would like. However, I regularly attend the Opera in the Park performances which I think is a wonderful opportunity for people to be introduced to this art form. However, sometimes I do feel many people are not there so much for the music as for the opportunity to attend a free outdoor picnic-style event as the event is somewhat spoiled by people moving about all the time. In view of this we often attend the rehearsal the night before as the numbers are less and we can get closer to the stage and people just sit and enjoy the music.
For about 16 years I sang with the Perth Oratorio Choir and over the years many of the soloists for our performances have sung with the WA Opera Company and it is great to see their careers progressing in this way.
I would like to close by saying ‘well done’ WA Opera over the past 50 years, and may you continue as successfully in the next 50 years.
Miss Delys Griffith