O’neill leads Opera in the Park

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - TANYA MACNAUGHTON

THE last time Perth tenor Paul O’neill per­formed in a City of Perth Opera in the Park was in 2005 for The Magic Flute.

He fol­lowed it up with a sea­son in Don Gio­vanni and then trav­elled to Lon­don to seek fame and for­tune.

He has lived the past 10 years in Ber­lin with his wife and four chil­dren, spend­ing many Christ­mas Days singing in the tra­di­tional Ger­man per­for­mance of The Magic Flute or even Tosca, be­fore pack­ing up the fam­ily and mov­ing home to Perth last year.

“So it was our first Aussie Christ­mas for a while where we didn’t have to do a phone call or Skype with fam­ily. I can’t wait to be back for Opera in the Park; it’s re­ally part of Perth now and a much big­ger event with a simul­cast,” O’neill said.

“It’s part of the opera scene but also for peo­ple who don’t nec­es­sar­ily come to the shows in-house. They bring their chil­dren and grand­par­ents and it’s a won­der­ful evening.

“There’s al­ways some­thing spe­cial where you can smell that sum­mery Perth air by the fore­shore; it’s magic.”

WA Opera will per­form Puc­cini’s La Bo­heme for this 27th Opera in the Park at Supreme Court Gar­dens on Satur­day, Fe­bru­ary 3, with O’neill play­ing lead­ing role Rodolfo.

“To do La Bo­heme will be great, es­pe­cially since I’ll be go­ing straight to Syd­ney af­ter to do an­other out­door per­for­mance of the opera on Syd­ney Har­bour,” he said.

“It’s quite a lot of Bo­hemes in the first part of the year.”

So it is for­tu­nate for O’neill that it is one of his favourites, cit­ing the mu­sic as “sub­lime” and the story “fan­tas­tic”.

“The lovers fall in love and break up only be­cause they love each other so much,” he said.

“Then they get back to­gether just be­fore Mimi dies. It’s pow­er­ful and you have the other char­ac­ters, Schau­nard and Colline, adding to the brevity and youth­ful feel­ing of it.

“Rodolfo shows all his emo­tions and then in the fourth act when Mimi is dy­ing, it’s such an emo­tional act and so won­der­fully writ­ten with its tim­ing and pace that it’s great to sing.

It’s so pow­er­ful be­cause ev­ery­one knows be­fore him and they’re just wait­ing for that mo­ment when Rodolfo finds out.it’s def­i­nitely one of those mo­ments that sticks with you.

“It’s the sort of part an oper­atic singer would like to sing.

“Puc­cini loved tenors and so­pra­nos, so that al­ways helps as well.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d477260

Tenor Paul O’neill per­forms in La Bo­heme.

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