New company set to hit a high note

Monday, 11 April 2016

The newly formed Western Sydney Opera company, led by founder and lead tenor Lorenzo Rositano, will give a launch performance on Saturday 7 May at the Joan.

Mayor, Cr Karen McKeown, said the formation of the local company was a fantastic opportunity for residents and visitors to experience opera. Creating opportunities for the region's artistic community and capturing a more equitable share of Government funding were two of the priorities identified at the Mayoral Arts and Cultural Summit held late last year.

"Despite significant inequities in the amount of arts and culture funding given to other areas of Sydney compared to Western Sydney, there is a tremendous sense of pride about what has been achieved and a great sense of optimism about what could happen if more funding came to the west," Cr McKeown said.

"We're proud to support this venture which we see as a Council-led step toward addressing this inequity and investing in, and providing opportunities for local talent," she said.

Penrith Council provided $3000 to help form the company and another $3000 to help fund its first two productions following a recommendation by Cr Jackie Greenow OAM.

Cr Greenow was inspired to champion a local opera company after seeing a production of La Boheme at the Joan in September last year.

The opera featured a cast of talented local singers, including Mr Rositano who produced and directed the event.

Mr Rositano, of Kingswood, said the grant was timely recognition of the depth of local talent and will help stem the cultural drain from the region.

"We have the only cultural institution named after the late Dame Joan Sutherland in the world," he said. "She was a singer of international renown, so it makes perfect sense that Penrith, and the west, should have its own opera company."

Performing Arts Centre CEO Hania Radvan said the formation of Western Sydney Opera was "a great indicator of the vibrancy and artistic health of the region".

"We are delighted to see independent artists such as Lorenzo Rositano and Western Sydney Opera reaching audiences and thriving," she said.

Western Sydney Opera's launch on 7 May will feature opera's emerging artists performing operatic highlights, as well as songs from operetta and musical theatre.

In September, the company will stage a production of Donizetti's The Elixir of Love at the Joan.

Information contained within this news release was correct as at Monday, 11 April 2016.