For many fans of opera and its assorted siblings – musical theatre, operetta, classical music – part of the enjoyment of the performances are the spectacular sets. The costumes, the staging: all the trappings, in fact.

Indeed, opera is not known as the minimalistic section of the arts. It’s opulence all the way! And, for the first time, dedicated opera fans will be able to get up close and personal with many secret gems previously hidden inside the Opera Australia vaults.

The company is cleaning out its storage sheds with a special 60th anniversary costume and memorabilia exhibition and auction at its Surry Hills, Sydney headquarters.

Meticulously hand-crafted by teams of artisans over the years, these elaborate costumes, accessories, artworks and memorabilia can be viewed by the general public before the auction, which starts on 30 June 2017.

Highlights include the costumes from Baz Luhrmann’s famous 1990 production of La Boheme, a 1978 costume worn by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in La Traviata and Sigrid Thornton’s costume for the role of Desiree in the 2009 production of A Little Night Music.

According to Opera Australia CEO Craig Hassall, it was time to clean out the vaults.

“Over the past 60 years Opera Australia has amassed an incredible collection of costumes and props, many that are now well overdue for retirement, but are far more deserving than remaining in storage boxes, never to see the light of day,” he said.

“We know that collectors, not only from Australia, but all around the world, would be thrilled to acquire some of these rare gems, so we thought it was time to share the collection with those who’ll value it as much as we do,” he added.

The auction will be held on Friday 30 June and Saturday 1 July 2017 with bidding also available via telephone and online. Public viewing from Saturday 24 June. For more details click here.

What is your favourite opera memory?

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