60 Years Old and Still Going Strong!

Dunedin Opera Company – a.k.a Opera Otago – is 60 years old this year. We think we’re the oldest opera company in NZ in continuous existence. We’ve done over 100 productions, launched the careers of many young singers, entertained audiences with masterpieces of the repertoire – and presented more new NZ operas than anyone else in this country.

We celebrated last month with a Dinner, and then an Extravaganza Show at the Mayfair Theatre with everyone’s favourite extracts.

On April 8-9-10 we launch House Opera – a new experience of presenting opera in private homes. This weekend we are at Dunedin’s famous home Olveston, where we’ll perform Menotti’s favourite The Telephone and John Drummond’s Dearest Maurice.

We’ve also decided to close down our long-running Mayfair Costume Hire business. It used to raise money to help fund our productions, but those days are now gone; we were having to subsidise it from our opera takings! Most of the costumes have been bought, but a final auction will be held on the premises on Sunday 17 April. Go along for some bargains!

Our production at the end of the year is Philip Norman’s A Christmas Carol, a great musical version of Charles Dickens’s beloved story.


Autumn Newsletter: Warm Wishes from our Chair


Welcome to our second Newsletter for 2015.

As the nights get longer and the temperatures crisper I always think that these conditions lend themselves to our art form. What better way to relax than to sit in a warm theatre and be transported to another place and time by the music and story of a favourite opera. So I hope you have entered a date in your diaries to purchase tickets and get to a performance of The Magic Flute. And encourage your families and friends to do the same! While this is our main focus at the moment, you will see by the contents of the newsletter that a lot has been happening. I will let the rest of the contributions speak for themselves but will just add a couple of things.

Firstly I must pay tribute to the three members of the 2014 -2015 executive who did not stand again this year. Michael Andrewes, Linda Brewster and Vickie Cross worked tirelessly for the Company over the period they were members and I extend my grateful thanks to them for their contribution.

Secondly I welcome their replacements for the new term. It is with pleasure that we report that our long serving and award winning costume designer Brenda Rendall has joined us, along with Claire Barton and husband Simon Wilson. We know that they will all bring new skills and enthusiasm with them. The added benefit of having Claire and Simon is that their little daughter, Margaret, has been attending meetings and is learning the ropes at a very early age!

Thirdly thanks to all who supported our raffle which generated much needed revenue for our coffers. The winning numbers are presented later on in the newsletter.

Finally it is with mixed feelings that I report that we are soon to lose the highly valued services of Georgia Gray who is editing this newsletter and has been editing much of our other written material and working on our website. Georgia was keen to stay involved with executive even though she has been living in Wellington since the end of 2014. It has been a most successful “long distance” role and one which we have appreciated greatly. However, she is shifting to Paris with her partner Clément in July. I extend my best wishes to them for this career move. We will miss her wise and thoughtful contribution as well as her practical skills.

Best wishes. See you at The Magic Flute.

Murray Davidson


Seasons Greetings from our Chair

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 2.08.10 pmWishing you a relaxing festive season as we reflect on 2014 and look towards the new year.

For those who attended This Other Eden you will, I am sure, agree with me that it was an exceptional production&\
“.  The comments from the audience and cast surveys were overwhelmingly positive. We also gained some valuable suggestions from these surveys about how to improve our performance.  We have taken note of these. In TakeNote you will find the details of the production team’s success in the Dunedin Theatre Awards.

You will also find more detail about our major production for 2015.  The Magic Flute is one of Mozart’s most loved operas and is one that is new to Opera Otago’s repertoire.  We look forward to a sparkling production of this popular work. Make sure you organise your year to include it in your plans!

While an artistic success, our production this year severely stretched the finances of the Company.  To this end we have established a number of fundraising efforts to be carried out during 2015. Your support of these would be most welcome.  The first is a raffle, which will be on sale in the New Year.  Other aspects of the fundraisers will be announced in due course.

In conclusion I would just like to record my thanks to our faithful supporters, to all who were involved in the production of This Other Eden, and to my Executive members for their support and hard work over the year.

Best Wishes for a relaxing and happy Festive Season.

Murray Davidson


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