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Opera in the Outback

Short Film (Full Length) – 1988

Opera in the Outback offers a wry, fly on the wall view of the lead-up to a most unusual event: the first concert by Kiri Te Kanawa in the Australian outback. Kiwi director Stephen Latty and writer Michael Heath realise the people are the story, from affable locals to those preparing for 9000 joyful, sometimes drunken arrivals. The inhabitants of Beltana — population roughly 12 — risk building a new racetrack for visitors less operatically inclined, while Australian National Railways send all the rolling stock they can. Some of the Kiwi film crew were awake for 52 hours, trying to capture it all.

Because of the opera, and the racecourse being built, everybody, I mean all of the locals — and when I say all of the locals, that’s the whole 12 of us sort of thing — have had a fair bit put on us to do in a short time, and it really has brought out the best in everybody.
– Local woman in the town of Beltana

Key Cast & Crew

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Stephen Latty


Generic Profile image for Jane Gilbert

Jane Gilbert


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Michael Heath

Writer, Second Unit Director

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Ken Saville

Sound Recordist

Generic Profile image for Bob Lott

Bob Lott

Concert Event Director

Generic Profile image for Ralph Olhan

Ralph Olhan

Sound - London

See all 21 credits

Produced by

Kiwi Film Productions


Produced in conjunction with the NZ Film Commission Short Film Fund


Soundtrack includes Kiri Te Kanawa and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra performing 'Mi tradi' from Don Giovanni (Mozart), the Overture from Carmen (Bizet), 'Summertime' from Porgy and Bess (Gershwin), the Intermezzo from The Jewels of the Madonna (Wolf-Ferrari)

Orchestra conductedby John Hopkins

Music recordede by ABC/FM (Adelaide)