Following on from our last story Opera in the Bush, it is interesting to see how the stars themselves seem to love getting out into the sticks to perform. Next year will be the 20th anniversary of the annual outdoor Opera in the Alps at Beechworth in Victoria’s high country. Drawing typically 3,000 to 4,000 people each time, it serves a valuable role wider in bringing wider exposure to the artform of opera. David Hobson and Guy Noble were the headline performers at this year’s event in January, and “big celebrations” are reportedly in the wings for 2016.
Opera in the Alp’s organiser, Australian Music Events, also runs two companion events, Opera in the Market (in Melbourne) and Opera by the Lock (Mildura).
Of a similar ilk is Canberra’s Voices in the Forest “operatic spectacle” at the National Arboretum. In its fifth year, this annual performance has become something of a cultural institution in the nation’s capital, attracting audiences of over 5,000. Cheryl Barker will be singing when the event comes around again on 21 November.
Of course these sorts of events are not strictly ‘opera’ at all, but their al fresco mix of opera excerpts and concert pieces has an appeal all of its own – and again we seem to do it particularly well in this country.