The year was 1967 and our school, Mt Lawley Primary School, had put on a high quality production of Gilbert and Sulllivan’s The Pirate of Penzance. Word spread and West Australian Opera commissioned the children’s chorus for its first production of Carmen. The school’s approach was to track down the successful performers for the production as most of us were then at Mt. Lawley High School. The Head of Music, Mr Trew, was approached. It was with much anticipation and excitement that we rehearsed the company which comprised of mainly amateurs.
For costumes we were told to wear something colourful and there was quite an odd selection of costumes pulled out of our wardrobes and our siblings’ wardrobes. The opening night was exciting indeed and I will never forget standing on the stage and listening to the overture and finally the curtain rising. Especially memorable was Giuseppe Bertinazzo, who produced, directed and performed in the first performance of West Australian Opera. He seemed to be everywhere. It was an exciting experience from start to finish and seemed to be very successful.