Light operatic shows were popular in New Zealand in the second half of the 19th century. By then, towns were well enough established to have an opera house or theatre. In 1889 the St John's Ambulance Association had a fundraising concert at the Theatre Royal in Christchurch. Singers performed songs from a range of well-known light operas, including Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado. Concertgoers were also treated to an exhibition of Highland dancing by members of the Scottish Rifles.
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