“It’s too long. It’s too expensive. It’s in another language. I won’t enjoy it.”

You dress up in your ball gown/tuxedo, spend $150 on a ticket for a seat that isn’t even that good. You head into a theatre where the drinks are over priced and end up sitting in uncomfortable seats, behind someone who won’t stop moving the entire show… Only to realise that the opera goes for 5 hours and you spend the entire first act needing to pee and checking your phone. All you desperately want is to grab a bite to eat and head on home after a long and exasperating day, but instead the foreign soprano (who’s name you can’t even pronounce!) keeps wailing on and on about how sick she is…. Until 4 hours later she dies, leaving the tenor clutching at her “lifeless” body.

That’s the image you get when you think of opera, am I right?

But picture this: You finish work and realise you bought tickets to the opera, priced at $30-50. Tired and desperate to wear something comfortable, you change into jeans, a comfortable shirt and comfortable shoes. You arrive at the theatre, a snug and cosy local place and get told that not only are there pies and drinks up for grabs but you’re also able to BRING them into the theatre with you (score!). You walk into the opera and get told that they’ve cut out the boring bits, so you only have to listen to the music that you actually wanted to hear (double score!). On top of that you look into your program, and realise that every single cast member is Perth born and raised, and people you actually know! The show becomes an opportunity to see your local professionals at an extremely great cost! Sounds too good to be true, right?

Wrong! This is exactly the experience you’ll receive if you buy tickets for the upcoming Freeze Frame Opera production of Puccini’s La Boheme. Created by Harriet O’Shannessy, Freeze Frame Opera is ready to launch it’s first opera and they’re calling it “A Pie, A Pint and Puccini”. Audience members will be given a chance to see this beloved opera at a very cheap price, as well as experience the joys of watching opera with a glass of beer in one hand and a meat pie in the other!

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Last night I was given an opportunity to see this wonderful production in rehearsal, thanks to the organisation Opera Lovers who gave us a rare and intimate opportunity to view the rehearsal experience and see our wonderful singers developing their work. Starring Paul O’Neill as Rodolfo (Who unfortunately was sick, but you might have heard him fabulously in Tosca!) and Harriet O’Shannessy as Mimi (Who, enviously, gets to wear pajamas for the entire first act, as well singing top notch high notes!), this show features Perth’s local, up and coming talents. Alongside O’Neill and O’Shannessy are Sam Roberts Smith, Paull-Anthony Keightley, Naomi Johns, and Lachlann Lawton as the wonderful cast with musical director Tommaso Pollio, set design by Robbie Harrold, lighting design by Geoff Glencross and direction by Rachel McDonald.

Set in the 1990’s, McDonald at last night’s rehearsal explained the show as “nostalgic”, with every character young and carefree, living in this world where they feel unstoppable. As they get older, reality sits in and with time these young students realise that the world they live in isn’t quite so simple and sometimes, life doesn’t go the way you want it to.

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Perhaps you’re a local, opera-loving audience member or perhaps you’ve never seen an opera in your life. But I highly recommend you book a ticket to this wonderful show – even if it’s just to see what opera in Perth looks like. It’s raw, exciting, new and bursting at the seams with amazing talent. Don’t miss out on this chance to see such a great show!

La Boheme: A Pie, A Pint and Puccini is running at the Camelot Theatre from Thursday 25th May – Sunday 28th May. Unfortunately, tickets are completely sold out for Thursday – Saturday shows, but there are still tickets left for the 7:30pm Sunday show. Get in quickly to buy this chance to see this popular opera in it’s glory! Tickets available here!

Written by Katherine Goyder