opera in the arboretum

A project of the
Rotary Club of Woy Woy Inc.

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Opera in the Arboretum

Opera in the ArboertumAlthough the first Opera in the Arboretum took place in 2006, I had been thinking about organising an opera on behalf of Rotary for some years. In 2002,whilst visiting a Rotarian friend in Stanthorpe, Queensland I was told about a project that his Rotary Club runs. It was an Opera in the Vineyards and they were able to donate a great deal of money to local charities through this event. I had assisted with the Jazz in the Arboretum in Pearl Beach and reckoned that an opera in the same venue would be fantastic.

I had this in the back of my mind when a local Pearl Beach resident came into my wife's art gallery. We got to talking about opera. He was at that time sponsoring a Pucini Festival in Melbourne and put me in touch with his friend, and the first Opera in the Arboretum was planned. Not being very knowledgeable about opera, I was very lucky to meet Michaele Archer - a Pearl Beach resident and a wonderful soprano.

This is where I hit the jackpot, because Michaele's husband Justin is a graphic artist, so he designed our postcard and posters for this our entry into the world of opera, and we held the first gig on the 4th March 2006. This was such a success that we were able to donate $8000 to the Pearl Beach Rural Fire Service.

In 2006, Michaele played a major roll in organising the performers for our next gig. She was able to obtain the baritone José Carbo - a truly great artist. Supporting José was Stephanie Acraman soprano, Richard Lane tenor, Annabel Chaffey soprano and our very own Michaele Archer. This opera was a real show stopper and set a very high standard for our future gigs. Funds raised on this event were donated to CanTeen - teenagers living with cancer.

Because of the special ambience of the Pearl Beach Arboretum, our opera here has gained a real status. We will continue holding this event into the future.

Opera in the Arboretum 2007

José Carbo performs the Torreador
from Bizet's Carmen

Since 2006, Opera in the Arboretum has gone from strength to strength with many memorable events and then in 2015 we held our Gala Tenth Anniversary concert.

Over the intervening ten years it has been our pleasure to have contracted many, many fabulous and exciting artists to perform for you.
Names synonymous with the crème de la crème of the Australian opera fraternity - these include: Sally-Anne Russell, Henry Choo, Ben Makisi, Nicole Youl, Michael Lewis, Rosario la Spina, David Parkin, Taryn Fiebig and of course, at our Tenth Anniversary, Cheryl Barker, and Louise Callinan.

The Board of the Rotary Club of Woy Woy and its very competent Opera Committee have endevoured to seek out and contract artists of the highest calibre to ensure that, year after year, your experience at Opera in the Arboretum is a long-lasting and memorable one.

John Greenway
Event Organiser
Rotary Club of Woy Woy, Inc.

Crommelin Native Arboretum

The Arboretum was named after Miss Minard Fannie Crommelin MBE who lived in Pearl Beach for 30 years prior to her death in 1972 at the age of 90. Minard Crommelin first came to Pearl Beach with her friend Charles Pryce in a small cedar sailing boat about 1910 and of this visit she wrote:

Minard Crommelin

"The beach is so beautiful - with a great number of Cabbage Tree Palms growing along the creeks and up the valleys and hillsides. There were many shells, little rock warbler's hung their nests from the caves under Mount Ettalong..."

Minard Crommelin developed a life-long interest in botany and natural history and was an avid conservationist well before the concept was popular. She worked tirelessly for the establishment of Warrah Sanctuary, which later became part of Brisbane Waters National Park. As a result Miss Crommelin was largely responsible for the preservation of the bushland that surrounds Pearl Beach.

The name Crommelin Native Arboretum was gazetted by the Geographical Names Board on 15th May, 1978. It is managed by an experienced localPearl Beach committee.

For more information visit - Crommelin Native Arboretum



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