Operatunity: Singing and dancing their way around NZ

Monday 09 August 2021

Operatunity is a rare company in New Zealand and probably in the world. It is a very Kiwi company, formed in 2001 and in that time has grown to be New Zealand’s leading provider of daytime concert entertainment and national and international music travel. 

It presents over 200 concerts annually to seniors throughout New Zealand in 24 different regions from Whangarei to Invercargill. These concerts are filled with joy and are delivered with Operatunity’s unique brand of good music and humour. 

We got to chat to one of Operatunity’s resident’s artists Kelly Harris to find out more about Operatunity and what makes it so special. 

What is Operatunity and what makes each concert so special to head along and watch?

Kelly Harris: Operatunity is the leading provider of daytime concert entertainment and musical travel in New Zealand. Our audiences are retirees who know the joy of great music, the delight in fabulous costumes, and above all – love to have fun. Our special ingredients are music, flair, and care! We bring happiness to our audiences and welcome them into our Operatunity family. 

How did the idea of Operatunity come about, and what is it like having so many shows touring the country at the same time?

KH: Operatunity was started by the acclaimed Kiwi soprano Susan Boland MNZM and her husband John Cameron. They only had 9 people at their first concert, most of who were Sue’s family – a lot has changed since then! We have eight national tours a year, visiting twenty-six venues from Whangarei to Invercargill. That’s over 200 shows a year to over 70,000 people! And we have a whole other half of the business that does 20+ luxury musical tours a year hosted by the artists from our shows. As you can imagine, it’s a massive logistical operation but we have an incredible office team in Auckland who work tirelessly motivated by all the happiness Operatunity brings into the lives of so many seniors. 

The Operatunity shows have proven to be very popular, what is it like being up on stage? What is the audience like? Do they get involved and have a good time?

KH: I’ve said it time and time again – there is nothing better than performing to an Operatunity audience. It’s like having hundreds of your coolest aunties, uncles, grannies and grandads cheering you on! They come ready to have a fabulous time and are with you every step of the way, laughing, singing, and bopping along!

When people head along to the shows, what can they expect?

KH: Songs you know and love, spectacular costumes and to leave with a big smile on your face! 

The Operatunity show of ‘You Make Me Feel Like Dancing’ will be coming to Rotorua in August. What is that show all about and what have previous audiences been like for that show?

KH: ‘You Make Me Feel Like Dancing’ is a colourful and high energy celebration of the music, but also dances of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. The show promises to pay tribute to dances such as ‘Ballin’ the Jack’, ‘The Limbo’, and ‘The Twist’. Audiences can also expect to get on their feet as the boys demonstrate one of the most complex routines of all time – ‘The Chicken Dance’! The show follows the success of our ‘Fabulous 50s’ tour last year that audiences went crazy for. It was a no brainer to bring the same stunning cast back and transport audiences to their teenage years once more!

What are some of the highlights of the show? Is there one part of the show that you can’t wait for the audience’s reaction? 

KH: Back by popular demand, audiences will be sure to revel in the sounds (and sights) of our three gorgeous stars! Cameron Barclay of the Ten Tenors plus Operatunity resident artists Karl Perigo and Bonaventure Allan-Moetaua. Not to mention our superb live band! A highlight will be the finale of the show, filled with iconic costumes and the unforgettable choreography of a legendary all male disco group!

What does the future hold for Operatunity and what can people look forward to?

KH: Things were looking a bit hairy in 2020, but thanks to the support of our incredible audiences we are back thriving bigger and better than ever. Look forward to more music, more costumes and more fun! We’re often told our concerts get more spectacular each time, and we’re here to prove it! 

More info HERE

Words: Caitlin Houghton
Images: supplied.