State Opera Magical Weekend in the Forest

Emma Pask copy

Emma Pask

Greta Bradman, one of Australia’s leading young sopranos, will be joined by internationally acclaimed Australian tenor Rosario La Spina to perform under the canopy of the magnificent Bundaleer Forest in Jamestown at the Bundaleer Festival, on March 22 to 24.

Ms Bradman and Mr La Spina will perform with the Adelaide Art Orchestra and 16 members of the State Opera Chorus at the festival’s Twilight Concert, starting at 7pm on Saturday, March 23.

Chief executive and artistic director of State Opera, Mr Tim Sexton, who will conduct the Twilight Concert, said the addition of the State Opera Chorus to the Twilight Concert’s traditional format was a major coup for the festival, opening up a whole range of repertoire.

“It will fill the forest with the most gorgeous music,” he said.

“The concert will include great moments from opera and operetta, along with some classic musical theatre numbers.

“It will feature music that is accessible, often well-known, but all of it beautifully performed by 18 fabulous singers and a great orchestra.”

Mr Sexton – who is the founder and chief conductor of the Adelaide Art Orchestra and is also a popular ABC Radio presenter – said concert-goers could look forward to excerpts from Carmen, Rigoletto, La Traviata and La bohème, as well as musical theatre numbers from Phantom of the Opera and the Mikado.

“There will also be a stunning performance of Nessun dorma by Rosario and the chorus, which is sure to be a highlight,” he said.

“Described as Australia’s Pavarotti, Mr La Spina is one of our Australia’s leading tenors, having performed as principal tenor not only with State Opera but all around Australia and overseas.

“In fact, he’ll be back in Adelaide later this year with his wife Milijana Nikolic – one of Australia’s best mezzo-sopranos – performing in State Opera’s production of Verdi’s The Force of Destiny.  They’re one of only a handful of husband and wife opera-singing teams in Australia, so this will be a real treat.”

Mr Sexton said the Bundaleer Festival Twilight Concert was something of an operatic launch for the Adelaide born and bred Greta Bradman.

“Greta is a brilliant young soprano with a great reputation and we’re delighted she’s joining us for the Twilight Concert,” he said.

“She has given many concerts and was a member of the Adelaide Chamber Singers for many years, however she is just beginning now to get into the operatic arena, so this performance will be extremely exciting.”

Bundaleer Festival attendees will also get a sneak peak of State Opera’s production of Madama Butterfly, scheduled to run at the Festival Theatre in November.

“One of our 16 singers, Joanna McWaters, will be singing the title role for the first time in our production of Puccini’s  Madama Butterfly in November, so the Bundaleer Festival will provide an exclusive sneak-peek of this production.”

Bundaleer Festival chairman Leith Cooper said the 2013 event, now part of the Adelaide Fringe program, offers an ideal combination of music, art, food and wine.

“The forest, one of the oldest in Australia, provides the perfect backdrop for this unique festival,” he said.

“The natural amphitheatre in the picnic ground provides the perfect location for the main stage and surrounding food and wine area. And patrons have come to love our Forest Performance Walks – walking trails which come to life for the festival with brilliant performers at every twist and turn.  It truly is a magical experience.”

Earlier on Saturday festival-goers can enjoy performances by African percussion troupe, Seneoz, the Ukulele Circus, Akoustic Oydssey and barbershop quartet, The Fishbowl Boys, while immediately after  the Twilight Concert, festival-goers will be treated to a late-night jazz set by Sydney-based Emma Pask, performing with guitarist James Muller and the Bruce Hancock Septet.

On Sunday, the family-friendly Bundaleer Hollow event features performances by Peter Combe, The Fairies and Humphrey B. Bear, along with an ecumenical church service and a Dixieland Jazz finale.

Food, wine and coffee will be on offer throughout the weekend, and accommodation is available at the adjacent Curnow’s Camp or in motels, bed and breakfasts and caravan parks in the region.  A transit bus will be running from Clare and Burra on Saturday and day trips ex-Adelaide, featuring a lunch-stop at Little Red Grape at Sevenhill and wine tasting at Sevenhill Cellars, are also on offer.

Tickets can be purchased for the entire weekend or specific days.

For program details, event information and tickets visit or phone (08) 8664 0455.

The biennial Bundaleer Festival is one of South Australia’s leading regional events,  Organised by the local community, the festival is supported by the South Australian Tourism Commission, Arts SA, State Opera of SA, Table 4T7, Energy Australia,  Bundaleer Wines, ABC 639 North and West and Fairfax Regional Media.

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