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A twilight opera will be presented in a prestigious Wakatipu garden on February 21 2021 by the Auckland Opera Studio, inspired by the success of the inaugural event two years ago.

The Arrowtown Creative Arts Society is staging Twilight Opera in the Garden in Birchwood Garden in Dalefield, the home of committee member Margot Robinson and her husband Bruce.

“Following the twilight opera held at Birchwood in 2019, we have continually been asked when we will hold another event,” says Margot. “The first one was a sell out and we are aware there is strong demand to bring entertainment like this to the area again as part of the Society’s arts and cultural programme.”

Birchwood Garden, designed by prominent Australian landscape designer Paul Bungay, has recently been judged a garden of national significance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust making it an ideal environment for the twilight concert.

“There are spectacular views of Coronet Peak, Cardrona and The Remarkables mountain range,” says Margot. “A feature pond enhances the setting which is perfect for the picnic-style concert.”

Frances Wilson, who created the Auckland Opera Studio as a charitable trust to assist the development of young New Zealand operatic singers, agrees.

“The Birchwood Garden is stunning and surrounded by so much beauty our singers can’t help but love performing there. We are grateful to Margot and Bruce Robinson and the Society for their initiative and taking the risk in staging the first twilight opera which was so successful.”

The Shades quartet, a group of young Pacific Island and Samoan men, performed in 2019 and two members have since been awarded young artists’ programmes at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

“This shows the calibre of our performers and we can promise those attending next year’s event that the four talented singers we have selected will provide a most professional evening’s entertainment. This is not just a stand up and sing concert, they will engage with the audience.”

Frances says one of the spin-offs from the Covid-19 pandemic has been that many gifted singers, usually based overseas, have returned home to New Zealand.

“This means we have been able to select some of the best this country can offer to perform at the Twilight Opera in the garden.”

Tickets are available from Eventfinda and Unichem Arrowtown Pharmacy.