The $10 million refurbishment of Oamaru’s Opera House wasn’t without controversy.
That’s a lot of money for a small town.
But the leadership of the project by then-mayor Alan McLay and then-deputy, now Waitaki MP, Jacqui Dean, prevailed.
Last night the building got the seal of approval from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa who in opening remarks in which she described Opera House as a little gem and spoke of the importance of heritage.
This was the third time I’d heard her in concert. The first was at Millbrook, the second in Dunedin’s town Hall but this was the best.
There was no need for a microphone in the Opera House seats only about 500 people.This created an intimacy as she held us spell bound through a selection of opera and lighter songs.
She had us laughing, and also crying. Danny Boy is a family favourite, we sang it at our son, Dan’s funeral, but we weren’t alone in having tears in our eyes when she sang it.
Her accompanist, Professor Terrence Dennis, was a performer is his own right.
It was a very special night in a gem of a building with a star.