Ben Wonts and Candy Clarke of The Brook enjoying the night at Opera in the Park. Photo: Andrew Board.

Big crowd tunes in to Opera in the Park


Around 8000 Nelsonians brought their blankets, chairs, picnics and plonk, and enjoyed two and a half hours of world class music at Trafalgar Park on Saturday night.

Nelson Opera in the Park was once again a huge success, says organiser Pete Rainey, with a bigger crowd than last year. But punters will have to wait two years before seeing it again.

“It was a great night, we were a bit apprehensive about what the weather was going to do, but it being such a nice evening we were really happy with the crowd. It seems that it was up on last year and they loved the show. I always get a few complaints but generally I think people loved it.”

Opera in the Park has now been held for two years in a row and will take next summer off, while the Adam Chamber Music Festival is on. Pete says it was a deliberate move. “We’ve got it in sync now with the Adam Chamber Music Festival now.

So that will be next summer and we’ll do the summer after that. I want to get a reputation for Nelson to have really fine music every summer.”

Performers for the event came from all over New Zealand, and Pete says they were certainly a hit. “They’re all professionals and young kiwis who are doing really well on the international stage. I thought they were fantastic.”

Thousands took the opportunity to arrive early to enjoy the sun and meetup with friends, while kids played out the back of the ground. Pete says it’s a part of the event that makes it so special.

“I really do believe that it’s the only opportunity for Nelsonians to gather in such a large crowd that’s not a sporting event. It’s really quite a special event. It’s right on the main street and a lot people can just walk from home.”

He says putting on the show takes a lot of hard work from the Nelson City Council team and that Sophie Kelly, the director of the Nelson Summer Festival, did a great job.

“I’m thrilled, you never really know until the night how it’s going to turn out, but it was a really great night. The musicians were buzzing, I’m just absolutely stoked to be able to bring those performers to Nelson.”