Sam Roberts-Smith shares his excitement about Opera in the Park

Opera star Sam Roberts-Smith is excited about the WA Opera’s annual Opera in the Park event. This year the company will be performing Verdi’s La Traviata,  and Sam will take on the role of the Marchese d’Obigny.

“I love performing in outdoor venues!” Sam declares as we meet for coffee in a cafe just down the road from His Majesty’s Theatre.

“Singing in a theatre can be really beautiful and intimate and nice, but I remember the last time we did a concert in the park standing on the stage when they played the overture from La Traviata and looking out at all the people on their picnic blankets eating cheese and drinking their wine and thinking ‘How great is this?'” Sam said.

The informality of the free event in Supreme Court Gardens is something that Sam embraced, “It’s more relaxed, I think if you go to a theatre it’s more of a formal occasion and some people are put off by that. In the park you can relax and be yourself, have a glass of wine and enjoy the music.”

Sam’s journey into the world of opera began after he had a sporting injury as a teenager.

“Opera found me, I didn’t really know much about it until I hurt my knee really badly when I was about thirteen years old and I couldn’t play sport anymore.

“So there was something about singing that I’d always to wanted to do. I’d never had singing lessons, but I’d sung in a choir. Once I damaged my knee and couldn’t play contact sports anymore I thought ‘now I have the time to try this.'”

Two weeks after he decided to give singing a go, Sam came second in his school’s singing competition and teachers advised him to give classical music a go because of the type of voice he had.

“They told me, ‘You have a sound in your voice that is an opera sound, not a pop and rock sound.'” Sam said.

Not long after he went to an Open Day at the WA Academy of Performing Arts and with some prodding from his Mum, sang for the lecturers who were impressed with his sound. Sam confesses that he really knew nothing about the world of opera but soon realised it’s that space that best suited his voice.

Sam said he realises that some people find opera a more difficult artform to engage with but he encourages people to give it a go, saying the combination of music and storytelling was amazing when it was done really well, and Verdi’s La Traviata is a good place for a newbie to start their journey.

“It’s a love story, it has tragedy, almost all operas do” he laughs, “People are always falling off things and having duels.”

‘La Traviata, the music is beautiful, there’s not a single part that is boring.” Sam said.

WA Opera’s presents Opera in the Park: La Traviata in Supreme Court Gardens 8pm Saturday 2nd February

OIP Staff