Opera’s Got Talent

Hello! Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Emma Pettemerides and I am a freelance opera singer based in Perth, Western Australia. I will be blogging about my own experiences as a performer and commenting on some of the performances happening in Perth. I hope you enjoy!

My first blog is about something I feel very strongly about; Opera in education.

Last year I was asked by West Australian Opera to take part in developing a new show for the Healthway’s Smarter Than Smoking education tour. We were lucky enough to have director Brendan Hanson write and direct a fabulous show called Opera’s Got Talent. The cast included Sir Bobby Baritones from England (Robert Hoffman), Madame Sara Imadiva, the national treasure of Poland (Sarah Guilmartin), Tommaso ‘I-CAN-PLAY-IT-IN-ANY-KEY’ Pollio and ‘Emma Sheila Goldfields’ from Kalgoorlie! The show takes the format of a game show, with Tommaso playing the piano and the game show host. There are a series of questions and challenges for the competitors who battle it out to take the grand prize!

Over the last year we have toured this hilariously funny show to Kalgoorlie, Albany and more recently around the Metropolitan area, performing to more than 2000 students. In 2015 we lost our Madame Sara Imadiva to America (Sarah is now studying at Mannes in NYC), and the role of Madame Penelopa Imadiva was then created by the wonderfully gifted Penny Shaw (one half of Perth duo Divalicious)!

A large majority of the children we performed for had never heard any opera before. The reaction from the schools we have visited has been amazing!!! Many of the students admit to coming to the performance thinking, “This is going to be boring…”. Seeing them leave with big smiles of their faces, and speaking so enthusiastically about the show. is the most rewarding part. They learn that opera involves, acting, singing, different languages, costumes and (in this case) a lot of dancing!

At the end of each show we usually do a Q&A session. Some of the questions we get asked regularly include, “Did you do singing lessons when you were at school?” “How old were you when you started singing” “How old are you now?” “How do you sing that high?” and “Have you been on X-factor?”

It’s the most rewarding (and exhausting) show I’ve ever been involved in. I’m happy to be a part of something I feel so passionately about; educating children about music and theatre.

Em xx

If your school is interested in having ‘Opera’s Got Talent’ come and perform, please contact Terasa Letizia at WA Opera for further details. tletiziam@waopera.asn.au

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