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About Us

Our Purpose

We love
We are
We promote
We host
We fundraise

the operatic art form and we love to support those pursuing a career in opera.

a not-for-profit incorporated body committed to supporting and assisting opera in Western Australia.

awareness of, and enthusiasm for, opera, and young artists starting their career journeys.

events for our members and their guests, where you can enjoy refreshments and meet artists and other opera lovers. We present performances, rehearsals and talks in both intimate and luxurious settings by young artists, established WA professionals and national stars.

to invest in opera in Western Australia, and to assist those pursuing an operatic career. We sponsor West Australian Opera's Young Artist Program, and other causes for the advancement of opera in WA.

Our Committee


Ian Westrip OAM


Educated in Perth, London and Glasgow, he was the recipient of a number of prizes and awards as a

singing and conducting student, including the Lord Mayor of London singing prize and The Royal

Scottish Academy Hugh S Roberton prize for conducting.

During the seventies he pursued a career as a singer of opera an oratorio, singing in the UK and with

Australian Opera, Scottish Opera, Canberra Opera and West Australian Opera. At the same time he

extended his conducting work especially with West Australian Opera of which he was Acting and

Assistant Musical Director and Chorus Master, conducting Nabucco, The Marriage of Figaro, Dido

and Aneas, The Medium, The Elixir of Love, Carmen, Amahl and The Night Visitors, Die Fledermaus,

other productions and concerts. His singing roles include Figaro in The Barber of Seville, Zurga in

Pearlfishers, Papageno in The Magic Flute and Dapertutto in The Tales of Hoffman, Masetto in Don

Giovanni, Malatesta in Don Pasquale, Schaunard in La Boheme, Marullo in Rigoletto, The Minister in

Fidelio, Junius in The Rape of Lucretia, Germont in La Traviata, Falke in Die Fledermaus, and

Dancairo in Carmen.

He formed the Music Theatre Company of WA creating more opportunities for young people to work

professionally. He was also Musical Director of UWA Choral Society.

After completing 13 years as Director of Music at John XXIII College, with a music staff of 23, he

took the position of Chorus Master of English National Opera and during that time, conducted a

recording of Intermezzi and Preludes with the Philharmonia Orchestra in London.

Returning to WA, he again took up Musical Direction of the Music Theatre Company and the

management and responsibility of the WA Philharmonia Orchestra. Major projects in this period were

as Chorus Master for Edgley’s Production of Aida, conductor of La Traviata, La Boheme and Verdi’s

Requiem for Regal Opera.

He is currently Managing Director of the Stage Door School of Performing Arts which he founded in

1996 to teach and promote singing and music theatre with young people.

Having assisted in the formation of the Music Theatre Course with John Milson and Geoff Gibbs in

the early 1980’s, until 2003 Ian was a lecturer in singing in Music Theatre and Classical Departments

at WAPPA and has been lecturer in singing at UWA and ECU Classical departments (also current).

He manages, promotes and conducts concerts with the Perth Lyric Chorale as well as teaching


In 1998 he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for his

services to music in Australia as a performer and teacher.

The ICW Performing Arts Association (INC) is his initiative with a goal of assisting youth and

persons with disability in the performing arts.

ICW Productions has now become an established part of the WA Arts scene with its highly regarded

quality productions of OLIVER, COMPANY, LES MISERABLES and CATS. In 2014 THE


further productions of THE WIZ (Iona PC) and OKLAHOMA (MUSAE) 2015 and OLIVER (ICW

Productions) 2016.

The Best of British concerts have also been revived under the banner of ICW productions and will

continue into 2021.

He was Chorus Master for WA Opera production of Carmen in 2019, to much acclaim.

Since 2019, OpusWA arts orchestra and chorale has morphed from the ICW Association, and

provides opportunities for young graduates particularly in Oratorio, Opera (original languages) and art

song work, which otherwise does not exist particularly in orchestral settings. As Artistic Director,

responsibility for these regular concerts and productions and the programme of works is his, being

responsible to the Board of Directors.

He was the Founder of OpusWA to assist young singers in furthering their career experiences and is

now President of The Society of WA Opera Lovers in its endeavours to support young singers and

promote opera especially in WA.

He continues as lecturer in Classical singing at ECU, WAAPA, since 1983.


Helen Brown

Former President

Helen Brown is a singer and singing teacher who is passionate about Opera and giving performing opportunities to singers. She is currently teaching classical voice and Lyric Diction at WAAPA. Helen also sings in the chorus of WA Opera.

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Natalia Skarina

Committee Member

Natalia worked as an engineer in Western Australia and Finland during her professional career. While living in Finland, she was a member of the Helsinki Opera Club and the Wagner Society. She is an Opera Lovers member since 2021. Natalia follows European Opera Festivals and has an extensive collection of modern opera productions.

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Nigel Penfold


Nigel is a retired Chartered Accountant who has worked across a range of industries. During eight years with the WA Department of the Arts he worked with Perth arts agencies and later served on the boards of Form, Ausdance and Buzz Dance Theatre. He served as treasurer for Rostrum WA, and as honorary auditor for a variety of not-for-profit organisations, including the Lieder Society and the Opera Lovers.

Our Constitution

In accordance with the requirements of the Australian Charities and Not-For Profits Commission that all charities need governing documents, the Society of Opera Lovers WA (Inc) formed its constitution in 2013, with amendments being made in 2017 and 2022. 


The constitution sets out the objectives for Opera Lovers, how it operates and the way the committee makes decisions and consults members.  

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