First concert after lockdown gets rousing welcome

The more mature audience was excited to see the return of Operatunity Daytime Concerts at St Columba Church, Botany. Times Photos Wayne Martin

There was no keeping the more mature people away from a Stage and Screen, Operatunity Daytime Concert on Tuesday, July 7.

Going from the standing ovation that Susan Boland, co-founder Operatunity Daytime Concerts got as she walked on to the stage, it looked like the seniors were having the time of their lives.

After a logistical nightmare that involved cancelling 59 pre-booked concerts during the lockdown and refunding 16,000 tickets that were bought in advance, Operatunity resumed its tour of daytime concerts, starting with St Columba Church in Botany.

Susan is a former geriatric nurse and has been a professional singer for 30 years and created Operatunity Daytime Concerts to cater to her passion for music and care of seniors. She said they wanted to find out how their patrons were doing during the lockdown and decided to pick up the phone and check on them.

“We, along with our office staff, called over 5000 individual patrons during the lockdown. If you didn’t get a call, we are sorry.”

Another bonus for their loyal patrons was the ‘Operatunity Happiness Half Hour’, a free, half-hour weekly concert on the Operatunity YouTube channel with 40+ home-grown artists.

The recent `Stage and Screen’ concert started off on a rousing note with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s `Love Changes Everything’. Times photos Wayne Martin

“This is our way of giving back to our seniors who may feel isolated or scared at present,” said Susan, who was awarded an MNZM for services to music and seniors in this year’s New Year’s Honours List

“Today, we are probably the first in the world to perform live during these times,” said Susan.

The Stage and Screen concert started off on a cheerful note with a rousing performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Changes Everything.

With brilliant performances by Amanda Atlas, an internationally-acclaimed opera singer who outdid herself with a rendition of Don’t cry for me Argentina— there were several performances that deserve a mention including Karl Perigo’s rendition of all-time favourite If I were a rich man from the movie Fiddler on the Roof; and theatre personality Russell Dixon’s entertaining performance of Me from Beauty and the Beast.

Co-founder of Operatunity Daytime Concerts Susan Boland and Karl Perigo captivate the audience with a rendition of `If I were a rich man’.

The duet by one of New Zealand’s finest operatic tenors Bonaventure Allan-Moetaua and Russell Dixon, struck a poignant chord as they performed This is the moment.

Every performer, be it the gifted and beautiful Kelly Lim Harris’ slick performance of Roxie from the musical Chicago or Susan Boland’s  Just you wait from My Fair Lady— was outstanding.

Accompanied by Grant Winterburn on piano, the fitting finale was a trilogy of  We’ll Meet Again— a tribute to wartime singer, songwriter, the late Dame Vera Lyn; followed by One Day More and the foot-tapping Amigos Para Siempre composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber.