We were proud to support the Enerven ‘Connecting Communities’ Co-Opera Workshop with St Barbara’s Primary School and Roxby Downs Area School at the Roxby Link Leisure Centre in May.
Co-Opera is Australia’s only dedicated regional touring opera company and has been performing and making an impact in regional and remote Australia for over 25 years. In 2018, Co-Opera toured Rossini’s comedy masterpiece ‘The Barber of Seville’ around Australia with a cast of some of the country’s finest young opera singers and musicians.
Since 2011, SA Power Networks has sponsored this event, allowing Co-Opera to bring entertainment to remote communities that often do not have the opportunity to see live performances and productions. In 2018, SA Power Networks supported Co-Opera in travelling to Whyalla, Port Lincoln and Ceduna and for the first time, Enerven supported Co-Opera in travelling to Roxby Downs.
Whyalla was the first port of call on the tour, and the performance at the Middleback Arts Centre was attended by vibrant group of locals. The Whyalla Men’s Shed who received complimentary tickets to the performance said, “Everyone who attended commented that it was their first live opera and appreciated the experience. The storyline was fun, the performances entertaining, and the arias and chamber orchestra superb.”
The second stop of the tour was Port Lincoln’s Nautilus Arts Centre, where an enthusiastic audience of around 130 people attended. Brian Mills, the Secretary of the Port Lincoln Singers, said “The talent displayed by the performers was extraordinarily impressive. It is many years since Co-Opera last visited Port Lincoln. The numerous comments shared by the attendees after the performance expressed the hope this company will again entertain us in the not-too-distant future. Thank you very much for your organisation’s role in sponsoring Co-Opera’s tour and it would be wonderful if your support can continue to help bring such marvellous performances to rural areas.”
On the final stop of the SA Power Networks tour, Co-Opera partnered with the Ceduna Presenters Group to perform at the Ceduna Memorial Hall to over 150 people. Many attendees noted that it had been over 10 years since opera had been heard in the town and they were particularly thrilled to hear the orchestra of the Royal Commonwealth Society accompany the singers.
The final performance of the tour in Roxby Downs was held at the RoxbyLink Leisure Centre, where an excited audience awaited the performance. Enerven’s sponsorship of this performance was a great opportunity for Enerven to highlight their presence within the local community.
Co-Opera also ran ‘Connecting Communities’ workshops in both Ceduna and Roxby Downs, allowing students and teachers to interact and giving students a chance to see the non-performance roles involved in staging an opera.
The workshop invited young people to be curious about the sounds we make and how they make us feel. Using an approach called aesthetic learning, the students were encouraged to experiment with familiar sounds – starting with their name. Each Co-Opera artist took a small group of students and developed the process further – passing sounds back and forth until a playful language began to emerge. Since the closure of the instrumental music program some 3 years ago, Roxby Downs has struggled to maintain the every-day connection with music that it had once nurtured. There is no local music teacher at this time and no immediate prospect for one. Drama teachers are teaching music curriculum modules and doing their best to deliver for their students. It was heartening to see teachers participate in the workshop with their pupils and be inspired by Co-Opera’s dynamic and approachable style to learning.
The Co-Opera tour was a huge success and since conclusion of the tour, both SA Power Networks and Co-Opera are receiving emails of thanks and appreciation. Libby Ellis, from Co-Opera, said “Roxby, Port Lincoln and Ceduna in particular were very excited that someone had made the effort to travel all that way. Whyalla, of course has a larger theatre and more entertainment opportunities, but the enthusiasm of those members of the community in Port Lincoln who hosted members of the cast, and both the secondary school students who participated in the 'technical theatre' workshop in Ceduna and the younger ones who made their own music and sang along with 'buona sera, Don Bassilo' in Roxby, were a joy to see.”
The Co-Opera tour is an event that SA Power Networks and Enerven are proud to support and truly enjoyed being part of.