Following the success of Nellie In Her Own Write, Melba Opera Trust once again approached eminent Australian pianist (and writer extraordinaire) Stephen McIntyre to create an enjoyable and informative musical program.

While Nellie In Her Own Write highlighted some of the best and lesser-known moments of Dame Nellie Melba’s life, Stephen was inspired to expand that idea to the broader world of opera. Through a series of introductions to popular arias, Stephen narrates familiar, unfamiliar, and often amusing tales about performances, singing and staging. “The programs the singers take part in across the year cover a lot of different repertoire”, says Stephen, “so I have tried to write a broad range of introductions to suit all kinds of song choices.” The research itself “was great fun” for Stephen, and uncovered an array of gems. To avoid giving away any of the performance treats, we asked Stephen to offer a story that hasn’t yet made it into a program:

“One of my personal favourites happened some years ago in a performance of Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov. In the farmyard scene, there were several real chooks who usually stayed well upstage where the food was. On this occasion, however, the food had been forgotten and the chooks came and took over the front of the stage searching for something to eat, completely stealing the limelight from the singers. One even ended up on top of a horn player in the orchestral pit!”

Nights at the Opera has already had several outings. It was premiered at the stunning Beleura House and Garden in Mornington and in ‘Opera in the Arena’, the annual event of benefactors John and Liz Wright-Smith. It has since been performed for the Bayside Council as part of their Resonance Concert Series, and at The Australian Club as a Members event.

Nights at the Opera

Tuesday 18 July, 6pm

The Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre


Nights at the Opera is a flexible musical program that can be adapted for a variety of settings. If you would like this program or other performance ideas for your next occasion, contact Melba Artists.