Opera Triumphantly returns to Coffs Harbour!

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Hooray! Hooray! Let your hair down, “The Barber” is coming! Co-Opera brings their hilarious production of “The Barber of Seville” to Coffs Harbour, with its colourful costumes and glorious music in a setting of gold prospecting.

Who is Co-Opera?

Co-Opera, established in South Australia in 1995, is Australia’s opera on the move company, dedicated to bringing culture and unforgettable experiences to regional and remote Australia. It was created to be an adaptable company with innovative, flexible productions, purpose built for non-traditional venues and non-traditional audiences. Co-Opera specialises in engaging and fun productions of great operas, allowing audiences to relax and enjoy an evening of incredible music and performance.

I’ve heard this is an historic event for Co-Opera?

This year, Co-Opera’s newly appointed Musical Director, distinguished South Australian conductor and organist Josh van Konkelenberg, will make his conducting debut for the company. It is an historic event and one which Co-Opera hopes will also make this a very special tour for audiences. Josh is thrilled to be hitting the road as MD, as he understands how significant live opera can be.

“Our repertoire tells stories that belong to everyone and need to be constantly retold in such a way that they touch people’s lives with a real force and immediacy.”

What is the opera about?

The Barber of Seville is a comic caper by Gioachino Rossini, inspired by a French play. The story revolves around the antics of characters straight from the Italian Commedia dell’Arte, who leap out of the pages of music with brilliance, laughter and fun. The Barber is the most popular and well known of all comic operas and with this production predominantly in English, all the mischievous twists and turns of the plots and the hilarious dramatic situations will be immediately appreciated.

This production is set in the Australian goldfields of the 1880s and is a story of mistaken identity, misplaced affection, and the mysteries and mischief of young love. The plot weaves in and out of wicked schemes, intrigues and dreams that will delight and entertain, just as audiences were entertained centuries ago in small Italian villages. It is a must-see for anyone who loves a great laugh, great music and a great night out.

There are some locals in the production. How did this come about?

Co-Opera takes the vibrant art form of opera to regional and remote Australian towns and encourages local engagement at each of its destinations. At this performance they will be accompanied by the Coffs City Choir, who were very keen to jump on board.

“We are nervous, but so looking forward to it,” says Cheryl Cooper, Choir Secretary.

Who goes to the opera?

Co-Opera audiences can be anybody. It is not at all unusual for audiences to drive in from further afield especially for the show and bring the whole family – granny to kids! Co-Opera productions are accessible, fun, and for everyone. Their productions emphasise the everyday nature of the heroes (and villains) of the stories, and remind us that nothing beats a great narrative.

Co-Opera’s artists always make a point of meeting (and sometimes staying) with the locals, and end up with new friends at every stop. To that end, we have arranged for locals to billet the cast members and welcome anyone willing to participate in that opportunity to contact us at the theatre.

Is there a dress code?

There’s not even a whiff of stuffy or formal about it. You can come in your casual clothes or bring out your tiara and pearls – whatever feels natural to you.

Where is the opera being performed?

In keeping with our aim to activate our community venues and create a solid foundation for continued development of creative programming, we have embarked upon an association with D-Block Theatre at the Coffs Harbour Education Campus. Due to the size limitations of the Jetty Theatre, we have been limited in presenting large scale works from high profile companies. We are excited that this will be the first time that opera has been presented in an actual theatre in Coffs Harbour, as opposed to outside spaces, sports stadiums or school halls. D-Block Theatre offers double the capacity of the Jetty Theatre, great acoustics and comfortable tiered seating over two levels, stalls and balcony!

A café/bar will be on site, as enjoyed by regular Jetty Theatre patrons, with Tamburlaine offering wine tasting of their organic range, and Artisti will be in attendance with their fully equipped coffee van.

Where can we buy tickets?

Tickets can be booked online at jettytheatre.com or visit our friendly box office team at the Jetty Theatre, Tues – Fri, 12 – 4pm; or call 6648 4930.

This is sure to be the opera event of the year!

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