By Benjamin Millar
Acclaimed oboist Ben Opie, the artistic director for The 2019 Peninsula Summer Music Festival, loves the diverse delights and quiet feel of Seddon. He speaks with Benjamin Millar
What’s your connection with Seddon?
We’ve been here around seven years now, a friend who lives here introduced us to the area and we fell in love immediately.
What do you like most about the area?
It has a quiet feel and a great diverse community of residents. It’s the kind of place where if you want to head out, there’s always something to experience, but if you just want to have a quiet night with friends, there are plenty of options.
What are your favourite local places?
My favourite thing is exploring all of them! There’s such range of cuisine as well as cultural spaces – whenever I have the time, I like to try something new. And it seems to only be growing, which is great. There are just some quirky things around the place – for a while I was curious who ‘Billy Button’ was and why someone would name a street after him … turns out it’s a flower that used to grow a lot around here!
How did you come to play the oboe?
Music has always been a big part of my life, but it was the oboe that seemed to choose me in the end. It was an option to pick an instrument in high school and I had every intention of playing clarinet, but as soon as the oboe was offered I took it and never looked back! I’ve been performing all over the world for more than 20 years now and it’s been an amazing career with lots of incredible opportunities.
What are your favourite pieces?
It changes from day to day. I’m a huge fan of new music, so I’ve been listening to and working with Johannes Luebbers (another inner-west resident!) a fair bit, but I can always go back to listening to Bach’s Art of Fugue or Mozart’s Gran Partita.
What can we expect from January’s Peninsula Summer Music Festival?
A taste of everything! From jazz legends The Hoodangers to internationally renowned soprano Sara Macliver with harp virtuoso Marshall McGuire, and the Australian Haydn Ensemble. Not to mention hearing string quartets from the comfort of the Peninsula Hot Springs. There’s also some great kids events and chances to explore lots of the Peninsula’s unique galleries, wineries, churches and more.
What is something people may be surprised to learn about you?
I love to perform in strange and unique places. I’ve performed in abandoned gold mines, three-tonne trucks, Californian caves, German castles.
The Peninsula Summer Music Festival 2019 will be held January 1-13. Further details: www.peninsulafestival.com.au