Stories of transformation are not uncommon in the bush. The need to adapt to ever-changing conditions requires the ability to regenerate, reinvent, revitalise.
Tales of overcoming adversity and rising to the challenges thrown up by rural life are customary. There are always those who have the ability to turn events around in a way that has a positive impact, not just on their own lives, but more remarkably, on the lives of others.
This is exactly what opera singer Peta Blyth and her farming husband Bill have achieved. Imagine a professional opera singer at the height of her career, choosing to leave the international stages of Covent Garden and the Sydney Opera House behind, to move with her husband and two children to Delungra, NSW.
In 2002, with limited career opportunities available, Peta and Bill presented a small concert called Opera in the Paddock, on their property ‘Mimosa’. Looking back, Peta describes it as “slightly eccentric.” Their intention was “to have about 100 people, to stage the performance and that would be it,” she said.
Over fourteen years, the concert that began ‘on the back of a truck’ has grown to become a premier regional event in rural Australia. No stranger to major players, the event has attracted internationally renowned stars including Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Bradley Daley, Rosario La Spina, Jacqueline Mabardi, James Egglestone, Roxane Hislop and Elizabeth Lewis, just to name a few.
The event has grown in popularity to the point of attracting over 1,500 annually. This success has translated into the presentation of two performances of the exemplary event; the first at Lazenby Hall on Friday 24th March and the second in the paddock at ‘Mimosa’ Delungra on Saturday 25th March.
The popularity comes as no surprise. The program is designed to make the audience marvel at sublime music while being carried away by the power of the masterpieces and the artistry of the performers. It also promises to provide ample doses of fun and frivolity with much-loved opera classics and popular musical favourites.
Peta Blyth is looking forward to the next chapter of this iconic event. “We are really excited about this year’s program and the performers. Each performance will be exceptional.”
With the focus on the next generation of brilliantly talented singers, this year’s line-up includes mezzo soprano Eleanor Greenwood, sopranos Panayiota Kalatzis, bass baritone Jeremy Kleeman, tenor David Hamilton, as well as soprano Peta Blyth, accompanied by the Mimosa Orchestra conducted by Timothy Sexton.
“We are confident this year will be an uplifting experience that the audience will find both stimulating and exhilarating,” said Peta. “Whether enjoying the evening indoors at Lazenby, or unwinding in the beautiful surroundings of the paddock at Delungra, it will be the perfect place to relax and rediscover the very best world-class entertainment in the bush,” she said.
The outstanding success of Opera in the Paddock is testimony to Peta’s unrelenting passion and commitment to developing arts and culture in the bush. “It’s a celebration of what can be achieved by people who believe in our rural communities and our future,” she said.