‘Opera for anyone, anywhere’

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Accessible opera . . . Mezzo-soprano Claire Barton (left) and Opera Here creator and soprano Lois Johnston will perform at Orokonui Ecosanctuary on May 19. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

A desire to share the joys of opera with everyone is the foundation of newly formed musical venture Opera Here.

The brainchild of Dunedin opera singer and teacher Lois Johnston, Opera Here has the motto “opera for anyone, anywhere” and a is aimed at spreading the word about opera.

In keeping with that philosophy, Opera Here singers will add their voices to the birdsong at Orokonui Ecosanctuary in a performance on Sunday, May 19, at 3pm.

Johnston (soprano), Claire Barton (mezzo-soprano) and young singer Ridge Ponini will sing popular and beautiful opera arias, and will also share the context of the songs with the audience.

“Many arias are about love, so we will showcase the various stages, from first love to happy and sad endings,” Johnston said.

“People get caught up in the emotions of the songs, and when that happens they are able to connect and relate to them.”

The Opera Here mission is to show people who may be unfamiliar with opera how entertaining and full of human warmth it can be.

“Our long-term goal is to help create an appetite for opera and to build future audience, and we are committed to giving emerging talent performance opportunities.

“If we are going to build audiences for the future, we need to get people engaged.”

As part of its commitment to making opera accessible to all, Opera Here performs for koha – inviting people to pay what they can.