THREE opera-loving friends wanted to experience the top productions in Hong Kong - and ended up with parts in one of the finest. Office workers Simone Peterson, 26, Marion McBride, 23, and Carys Moelwyn-Hughes, 26, have been singing all their lives in different parts of the world, and when they met in Hong Kong a year ago, their interest cemented their friendship. When auditions were announced for the Hong Kong Arts Festival production of the Italian opera Un Ballo In Maschera, all three won a part in the chorus line. 'It's amazing that we got the parts together. It's great for 'small potatoes' like us to get the chance to be part of something like this,' said Ms Peterson, a public relations officer with property company Richard Ellis. Despite their modest parts in the production, the three young women say the stars of the show made them feel at home and it allows them to experience a top opera from stage-side for the first time. 'There are no snobs in this show. We have been treated really well. We are only on stage for about 30 minutes of the three-hour production, but we spend most of our time just standing in the wings in complete awe,' said Ms Moelwyn-Hughes, a junior buyer with Lane Crawford. Ms Peterson, an Australian, grew up with 'a cricket bat and a music score' while Ms Moelwyn-Hughes, from Wales, spent her youth in choirs. Ms McBride, an assistant buyer with Lane Crawford Express, spent eight years studying the piano and singing. The three met last year when they joined the Cecilian Singers. 'We have always loved singing and music in the classical tradition. We never liked any light stuff,' said Ms McBride. Although the women perform in crowd scenes, rehearsals for the production were not easy. Since December, they have completed a hard day at the office and rehearsed every night from 7 pm to 11 pm. At weekends, the gruelling rehearsals ran from 2.30 pm to 11 pm. 'It was pretty tiring but it is our hobby and we love it,' said Ms McBride. The three-act opera has its final performance tonight at the Grand Theatre of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. The story centres around an assassination attempt on King Gustavus III. The three women are enjoying the run of performances but will be happy to keep their jobs and enjoy opera as a hobby.