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"One of the most unashamedly romantic and highly sentimental works that I know"

Chris Winzar

State Opera’s inaugural performance of La Boheme

An opera in four acts
Giacomo Puccini, Composer
Luigi Illica/Giuseppe Giacosa, Librettists

In 1976, Premier Don Dunstan decided that South Australia needed its own opera company.

An act of parliament saw vibrant young company New Opera reborn as the State Opera of South Australia and in August ‘76 a production of Puccini’s La bohème launched the newly minted state company at Her Majesty’s Theatre.

The company brought two rising young international opera stars back home from London to play the star-crossed lovers, Thomas Edmonds (Rudolfo) and Gwyneth Annear (Mimi).

The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra appeared courtesy of the Australian Broadcast Commission.

The inaugural 1976 company contained many artists who would go on to be some of the most enduring names in Australian opera and theatre including Dennis O’Neill, James Christiansen, John Bolton Wood, Robyn Archer and John Gaden.

“South Australia is indeed fortunate to have a resident opera company with the professionalism, vigour and imagination which New Opera has shown. Under its new name, The State Opera of South Australia, I am sure its reputation will be further enhanced.”

Don Dunstan, Premier

Learn more about State Opera’s 1976 season of La Boheme

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Pelham Andrews, Bass performs Vecchia zimarra senti (Coat Aria) with accompaniment by Anthony Hunt on piano as part of State Opera South Australia’s Arias from the Archives project. Watch below.

Learn more about Arias from The Archives

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