Ayse Goknur Shanal sharing stage with Opera Australia in Parramatta this weekend

| March 15, 2015
Sydney Symphony Orchestra trombonist Scott Kinmont and Ayse Goknur Shanal, Opera Australia soprano soloist at Parramatta Park. Picture: Justin Sanson http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/

Sydney Symphony Orchestra trombonist Scott Kinmont and Ayse Goknur Shanal, Opera Australia soprano soloist at Parramatta Park. Picture: Justin Sanson http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/

Parramatta Park is joining the culture club.

No, there’s no Boy George but the famous World Heritage-listed park on the edge of the Parramatta CBD is hosting two free concerts this weekend — the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s annual visit tonight, and Opera Australia’s park debut tomorrow night.

And organisers and stars alike hope the events are the start of something big.

SATURDAY MARCH 14

Think Strauss and Schubert and Brahms as SSO guest conductor leads the orchestra and audience on a musical journey to Austria with Vienna’s Greatest Hits Live.

Thousands of people are expected to bring picnics and rugs to soak up the SSO’s annual performance, and the orchestra is looking forward to it as much as the crowds.

Trombonist Scott Kinmont says the event is much anticipated by SSO members.

“I was really surprised the first time I went there how good the acoustic was,” he says. “It’s such a great venue for it. It’s been a big success. It’s a really great introduction to classical music… The length of the works is no more than seven to 10 minutes for most
of them. A concert like this
has a lot of variety, lots of different pieces.”

This year there will be the added bonus of schoolchildren performing a special piece with the orchestra.

SUNDAY MARCH 15

Opera Australia soloist
Ayse Goknur Shanal is very excited that big-time opera is coming to western Sydney.

Shanal, who lives in the west, at Dharruk near Mount Druitt, will be one of four soloists joining the Penrith Symphony Orchestra and 300 choristers from 11 community choirs for a night of opera choruses under the stars.

Shanal says it’s important to increase interest in the arts and a concert such as this is the ideal way to do it.

“It’s the perfect way to reach out to a wider audience. To travel into the city to the Opera House can be a deterrent for people,” she says.

“This is a very accessible way to do it, so come one, come all…

“Outdoor events are always great. It is family-friendly, it’s free and we will be performing pieces that are recognisable.”

The lyric soprano says she would like to see more opera come to Parramatta in the style of a major event like Handa’s Opera On Sydney Harbour.

“Maybe we could
see a full opera performed in Parramatta Park,” she muses. “There is clearly potential. Where there
is a will…”

Tomorrow’s event, which organisers hope
will attract up to 15,000 people, will be the first time Shanal has performed at Parramatta Park. But she has visited often and has fond memories of the place.

“I am also a law graduate,” she says. “When I was
working at the court complex, I used to go to Parramatta Park to relax.

“It’s a beautiful spot.”

THE FUTURE

After this weekend, the Parramatta Park Trust hopes to host concerts by big-name pop and rock musicians in the park, as is done at Hunter Valley wineries.

The venue, a natural amphitheatre known as The Crescent, has just undergone major works that will enable crowds of up to 15,000 people to watch outdoor concerts.

“We have put in power, lighting, a really robust floor to allow us many, many events over a long time,” says Trust director Suellen Fitzgerald.

“We see The Crescent as being able to develop the kind of program like the Hunter Valley, that has international artists performing live, like Paul Simon and Sting.”

“It is a beautiful setting right on the Parramatta river. It’s just beautiful at night.”

“It’s got all the ingredients of the Hunter Valley for holding big events.”

Fitzgerald points to Parramatta’s Eat Street, with its many restaurants and cafes, and excellent public transport, with Parramatta and Westmead railway stations and buses close by.

Of this weekend’s entertainment, she says: “This is really our first big milestone in creating a world-class event space. It’s going to be a really exciting double-header.”

And she agrees with Shanal that a full-scale opera would be wonderful.

“We’d love that to happen — for Opera Australia to bring in more performances and productions.”

 

Kaynak: www.dailytelegraph.com.au

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