Art and mental health meet at the Pinnacles

Art and mental health meet at the Pinnacles

Freeing West Australian Opera from the concert hall and setting it outdoors unleashes its formidable power. Set it against the mystical Pinnacles in Western Australia, and you create an experience that defies description.

Opera In The Pinnacles presented by Act-Belong-Commit and West Australian Opera is a free concert of operatic hits set in one of Australia’s most iconic landscapes. As the dramatic limestone formations appear etched against the desert sky, entranced picnickers are swept up in the intensity and passion of the haunting arias:

‘That was AMAZING! What an absolutely unforgettable night! Incredible setting, excellent selection of songs, so entertaining and engaging... and the weather couldn't have been better! Thank you so very, very much!’

‘So looking forward to next year already…’

‘Thank you for an amazing evening. Weather, setting and performers were perfect.’

‘Wow! What a truly brilliant evening. We were blown away. A wonderful performance by such extraordinary talent in a spectacular venue…We felt very special and honoured to have been there.’

Apart from the joy of the performance itself, the concert serves two purposes — it provides support for mental health through the association with Act-Belong-Commit, and it assists West Australian Opera (WAO) to foster artistic vibrancy by taking opera to the regions. The success of the latter is clear as the ticket allocation was quickly exhausted, including the half that was set aside specifically for regional audiences. Overall, this year saw an increase in audience capacity over last year of 100% from 500 to 1000 patrons.

In a sense, the event is an encore. Opera in the Pinnacles was initiated as part of WAO’sOpera in the Regions series of concerts in 2017 to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary. It was such a success that the company was invited back again this year.

Opera in the Pinnacles is a truly collaborative event. Act-Belong-Commit (A-B-C), co-presenter of the event, is a comprehensive health promotion campaign that encourages individuals to take action to protect and promote their own mental wellbeing, and encourages organisations that provide mentally healthy activities to promote participation in those activities. The A-B-C guidelines for positive mental health provide a simple approach that we can adopt to become more mentally healthy:

ACT: ‘Do something’. Keep active in as many ways as you can, physically, socially, mentally and spiritually.

BELONG: ‘Do something with someone’. Keep connected to friends and family; get involved in groups; join in local community activities.

COMMIT: ‘Do something meaningful’. Commit to an interest or a cause; set goals to aim for; become a volunteer; learn a new skill; challenge yourself.

As the concert is set within Nambung National Park, the WAO worked closely with the Shire of Dandaragan and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.The project is also supported by Wesfarmers Arts, the Minderoo Foundation and UWA.

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