Viola, Lady Tait (nee Viola Wilson), Founding Patron of the Tait Memorial Trust | THE D'OYLY CARTE OPERA COMPANY

Viola, Lady Tait’s zest for life was an inspiration. These qualities remained with her always together with a remarkable memory, clarity of mind and youthful outlook. With a prodigious vocal talent she excelled in the operas of Gilbert & Sullivan, beginning as a chorister with the Carl Rosa Company in the United Kingdom, graduating to the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, and was given a year’s contract as principal soprano. Accepting a contract to tour Australia in 1940, she was to meet and marry her future husband, Frank Tait.

She was a champion of new and emerging talent, adjudicating for numerous scholarships and awards both in Australia and overseas. As an adjudicator for The Mobil Quest in 1950, Viola was instrumental in launching Joan Sutherland’s career. This passion for supporting young artists continued throughout her life, in 1992 she inspired her daughter, Isla Baring, to organise a fundraising concert in support of a young Australian singer, Liane Keegan, who was newly arrived in London. It kicked off with a Christmas Concert at Australia House. The concert was a great success and became the foundation of our yearly events. Liane went on to have a major international career, she sang Erda in the recent Opera Australia, Ring Cycle.

Programme for JC Williamson's production 'Chu Chin Chow', Theatre Royal 26 May,1923
Programme for JC Williamson’s production ‘Chu Chin Chow’, Theatre Royal 26 May,1923

In 1984, the Performing Arts Collection, housed at the then newly opened Victorian Arts Centre, received a significant donation from Lady Tait of 300 costume designs by leading European theatrical designers of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. The designs had been imported for use in re-staging productions in Australasia by the commercial theatre management J.C. Williamson Ltd and its forerunners.

Another of her loves was writing and researching Australian theatrical history. She amassed a formidable collection of theatrical memorabilia and was the author of The Family of Brothers (1971), which chronicled the contribution of the Tait brothers to Australian theatre.

Lady McKell and Viola Tait at opening of the ballet, ca. 1950 1 photograph
Lady McKell and Viola Tait at opening of the ballet, ca. 1950

Her last book, Dames, Principal Boys and all that: A History of Pantomine in Australia (2001) was lavishly launched at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne, the home of the Tait-Williamson empire. When Viola’s death was announced the illuminated sign outside the Theatre read “Farewell Lady Tait, Star”.

divider

Viola Wilson (1938-39)   

Source: The Gilbert & Sullivan Archive         

[Born Pressburg, Austria-Hungary 1 Nov 1911, died Melbourne, Australia 6 Feb 2002]

Viola Wilson, whose real name was Viola Hogg, studied singing for six years at the Scottish National Academy of Music. In 1935 she was engaged by the Carl Rosa Opera Company and sang in the chorus of Die Fledermaus at the Lyceum Theatre, London. After tours of the British Isles and South Africa, she graduated to principal soprano.

Upon returning to London she auditioned with D’Oyly Carte Opera Company and was given a year’s contract as principal soprano, taking Viola Wilson (her maternal grandfather’s name) as her stage name at Rupert D’Oyly Carte’s suggestion. From May 1938 to June 1939 she appeared with the Company as Patience in Patience, Phyllis in Iolanthe, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, and Gianetta in The Gondoliers. Three of these parts were shared with other artists at various times: Patience and Phyllis with Ann Drummond-Grant until December 1938, and Gianetta with Helen Roberts. Miss Wilson also appeared on occasion in 1938-39 as Rose Maybud in Ruddigore and Elsie Maynard in The Yeomen of the Guard. She left the D’Oyly Carte in June 1939.

Viola Wilson then accepted an offer from Nevin Tait, J. C. Williamson’s London director to tour Australia and New Zealand in the Gilbert & Sullivan operas. In the 1940-42 Williamson tour she appeared as Aline in The Sorcerer, Josephine in H.M.S. Pinafore, Mabel in The Pirates of Penzance, Casilda in The Gondoliers, Princess Ida in Princess Ida, Rose, Patience, Phyllis, and Elsie. While in Australia, she met and married Frank Tait, later Sir Frank, the youngest of the five Tait brothers who were then running the Williamson Company. She retired as a singer in 1946 but remained involved with the Williamson Company, serving for a time as an artistic director.

Viola Wilson in character as Elsie in Gilbert and Sullivan's The yeoman of the guard, 1940?] [picture] / S.J. Hood
Viola Wilson in character as Elsie in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The yeoman of the guard, 1940?] [picture] / S.J. Hood

Following Sir Frank Tait’s death in 1965, Lady Viola Tait, as she was then known, wrote an informal history of the Williamson-Tait partnership. In “A Family of Brothers: The Taits and J. C. Williamson; a Theatre History” (William Heinemann, Melbourne, 1971) she also provides a good deal of information about her own life and career.

Lady Tait retained her interest in the performing arts thoughout her life and was a patron of many arts organizations, including the Tait Memorial Trust. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Performing Arts Museum in Melbourne, and was appointed a member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1990. In her later years she published a book on the history of pantomime in Australia, “Dames, Principal Boys…and All That” (Macmillan, Melbourne, 2001)

Source: Viola Wilson

Brian Castles-Onion on preserving La Stupenda | Limelight

Wonderful article published in Limelight Magazine about Brian Castles-Onion’s quest to save and share the recordings from Australia’s operatic past. Volume 1 sold out (let’s hope they press some more CDs). These recordings have particular significance for the Trust as Isla Baring’s father, Sir Frank Tait, produced this tour as part of the JC Williamson/ Sutherland Opera Company. It was Sir Frank’s ambition to present Dame Joan Sutherland to the Australian public after her international acclaim. The Sutherland Williamson Opera Company was formed in 1963. Richard Bonynge as Artistic Director engaged a team of world renowned principals and internationally successful Australian artists. One of the principals was Luciano Pavarotti, a young tenor from Modena. The chorus was all Australian. There was no government subsidy and the fate of Williamson’s future rested on the success of the venture.

Luciano Pavarotti
Luciano Pavarotti enjoying a game of Tennis in 1965. Photo Isla Baring

Sir Frank lived to see his ambition fulfilled. The triumphant Melbourne opening heralded the return of Dame Joan to her homeland. It was a season never to be forgotten. In Richard Bonynge’s words: “Sir Frank Tait has done the greatest service to Australian Theatre and to the arts of anyone we know.”

Sir Frank died at the age of 81 after the Melbourne season finished and while the company were in Adelaide. It was the end of an era in the history of Australian theatre.

We are thrilled that Maestro Castles-Onion has produced a professionally mastered collection of recordings, not only of the Tour but also of Robert Allman, June Bronhill & Nance Grant. It truly is a remarkable achievement.

divider

The opera conductor has taken on the task of ensuring that these Aussie greats are not forgotten.

brian-castles-onion-408x204

Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by many singers of celebrity. These famous names were not only on record – having collected opera recordings from the age of four – but also personal friends. Over two decades ago, when I first realised the need to preserve old tapes to CD format, I wrote to four dozen singers who had performed in Australia in the decades since the 1940s, asking if they had any ‘recordings’ of themselves. Most of these Australian-born singers had never been offered the luxury of studio recordings and the only captures of their voices and artistry were from ‘live’ performances on tape. These primitive sound relics, which have lain silent for decades, hold a wealth of wonderful voices, which are our operatic history!

La Sonnambula from the Sutherland- Williamson Grand Opera Season of 1965. Photo from Brian Castles-Onion’s Private Collection
Three years ago, I commenced the Great Australian Voices series on Désirée Records in the hope that future generations would have the opportunity to hear how their musical ancestors sounded, what they sang, how they sang, who they sang with and what they thought about their roles.

So far, Nance Grant, Robert Allman and June Bronhill have each been honoured with 3CD sets. Nance and Bob were close friends for many years. Bob eventually became like an uncle and we spoke daily. I knew his thoughts and opinions on the world of opera – then and now – and he was the obvious choice for the premiere set of the series. He was the greatest Australian baritone of his era at a time when we boasted also the voices of John Shaw and Raymond Myers! His voice and art had not been captured in the recording studio… a profound oversight.

Desiree Records - Australian Artists Collection
Desiree Records – Australian Artists Collection

The first CD release set the format – a complete audio coverage from the earliest broadcasts in singing competitions to the ‘final’ stage performance; an accurate biography containing important casts and dates; personal thoughts on favourite roles and colleagues, with rare photographs on and off-stage. Even their favourite colour has been chosen for the cover and CD artwork! The Allman set was completed and came from the manufacturer two weeks before his untimely death. Bob had the pleasure of knowing that his operatic career had been preserved to be heard by future generations.

allman_500x__55255_std
Nance Grant was one of the greatest of all Australian sopranos. Christian Thielemann told me personally that he considered her to be one of the three greatest Sieglindes he’s ever heard on record. (High praise for a singer who never had the opportunity to sing outside Australia!) Her final performance shows her shining on high Ds with a Nilsson-like brilliance in arrangements created for Joan Sutherland.

bronhill-cd

June Bronhill’s recording career was extensive but her ‘opera’ career had not been documented. Unlike the previous releases, I was unable to interview her in person because she died in 2004 and her autobiography does not show what I believe to be the ‘real’ Bronhill. Despite this, I contacted a dozen friends and colleagues who had known her and succeeded in producing what has been called the ‘definitive Bronhill biography’.

img_0639__60742_std

The long-awaited release of the Sutherland-Williamson Grand Opera Season of 1965 has been enormously popular. The excerpts on this 4CD set, recorded in less-than-studio conditions, display the essence of Sutherland in full flight. Here is a full, healthy voice wedded to an immaculate vocal technique, innate musicality and a generosity of stage presence that personified ‘La Stupenda’. All the operas in the 1965 season are represented – with and without Sutherland. The original tapes range in audio quality from excellent (those recorded by ‘management’ from placed microphones on the proscenium) to those recorded by a hidden microphone in a coat lapel. These audience recordings capture the more unusual partnerships like Joan Sutherland and Alberto Remedios in Lucia, or Elizabeth Harwood and Luciano Pavarotti, also in Lucia.

Final night of La Sonnambula. Sutherland/ Williamson tour 1965
Final night of La Sonnambula. Sutherland/ Williamson tour 1965

Many more surprises are in the pipeline. Two sets will hit the shelves in the early part of 2017. One honouring Australia’s greatest ever soprano and the other an international star who had their career tragically cut short. But no more hints…

– See more at: http://www.limelightmagazine.com.au/features/brian-castles-onion-preserving-la-stupenda#sthash.yRT4vLzI.dpuf

Source: Brian Castles-Onion on preserving La Stupenda, Limelight Magazine

Tait Awardee, Vivien Conacher to sing with The Concordia Ensemble – St Martin-in-the-Fields -FREE Luchtime Concert 

Save the Date for a free concert at St Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, to hear Tait Awardee, Vivien Conacher singing with The Concordia Ensemble.

Monday 2 January, 1:00 pm
Programme
Let me dance and let me sing from The Gipsy Princess – Kalman
Vilja’s Song from The Merry Widow by Lehar arr. Stickles
Dein ist mein ganzes Herz from Das Land des Lächelns by Lehar
Barcarolle from Les Contes d’Hoffmann by Offenbach
Gendarmes’ Duet from Geneviève de Brabant by Offenbach
Les oiseaux dans la charmille from Les Contes d’Hoffmann by Offenbach
Wien, du Stadt meine Traüme by Sieczyńksi
Ah, quel diner! from La Perichole by Offenbach
Love unspoken from The Merry Widow by Lehar
Adele’s Laughing Song from Die Fledermaus by J. Strauss
Brother mine from Die Fledermaus by J. Strauss

Performers

Sarah Labiner (soprano) recently sang Jano (Jenufa) and 15-Year-Old Girl (Lulu) with the English National Opera. Other roles and scenes include Zerbinetta (Ariadne auf Naxos), Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier), Adina (L’elisir d’amore), and Sophie (Werther). She trained at ENO Opera Works, the RCM, and UNCSA.

Vivien Conacher (mezzo-soprano) recent engagements include Opera Australia, Wexford Festival Opera, Iford Arts Festival, Grange Park Opera and BBC Proms. Vivien trained at the RCM, on ENO Opera Works and is an alumnus of the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme. She also runs a dementia-friendly recital series called Songhaven.

Edward Hughes (tenor) studied at the Benjamin Britten International Opera School with Tim Evans-Jones having previously completed a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering at Imperial College London. He has sung roles at Opera Holland Park and Longborough and understudied Das Lied von der Erde at the ROH. Roles performed include Tamino, Erik, Jenik, Rodolfo, Pinkerton, Cavaradossi, DonJosé, Des Grieux, Luigi, Macduff and Riccardo.

Matthew Palmer (baritone) studied at the Guildhall School under Robert Dean. He sings around the UK and abroad and has broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. Highlights include Guglielmo (Brigitta Festival, Estonia); Billy Budd (Opera North); Lorenzo, I Capuletti e i Montecchi (Pop-Up Opera); and Cover Abimelech & Alcindoro/Beniot (Grange Park Opera).

Samuel Oram (baritone) has been acclaimed for singing “with fire and gusto” (Birmingham Mail) and for his”…masterful breadth of line” (BBC Radio 3). He recently appeared as Thoas, Iphigénie en Tauride (Euphonia Opera), Nardo, Finta Giardinera (RCM), Marco, Gianni Schicchi (Westminster Opera), Marquis de la Force, Dialogues des Carmelites (BCO), Demetrius, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (BCO). Samuel is represented by Sarah Spooner at Cantabile Artists.

FREE Luchtime Concert: The Concordia Ensemble
Start: January 2, 2017 1:00 pm
End: January 2, 2017 1:45 pm
Venue: St Martin-in-the-Fields
Phone: 020 7766 1100

Source: FREE Luchtime Concert: The Concordia Ensemble – St Martin-in-the-Fields – Trafalgar Square, concerts in London

Late Night Jazz – Tara Minton — Royal Albert Hall

Exciting news for Melbourne born, Harpist, Tara Minton. Tara joined us in our recent Winter Prom at St John’s Smith Square, and has played us with many times over the past few years. Her versatility and quality of her performance is renowned, not only is she a talented classical harpist but she is quickly making a place for herself in the London jazz scene. Brava Tara from us all at the Tait Trust

static1-squarespace

On the 6th of April, I will be celebrating the launch of my new album, “The Tides of Love” at THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL! The band and I are playing the famous Elgar Room late night jazz sessions and you’re all invited!!!

I have the ridiculous honour of being joined by:
Ed Babar – Bass
Tom Early – Drums
Duncan Menzies – Violin
Filippo Dall’Asta – Guitar
Phil Merriman – Keyboards
Lilia Ioncheva – Percussion
Tim Boniface – Horns
Serena Braida – Backing Vocals
Put it in the diary, tickets are on sale now! This is a massive celebration of an album I’m hugely proud of, but also of 6 years of muddling through and finding my way in London – and all the people who have helped me on the journey. I can’t wait to share this with you.
Tara x

240_f_30980069_twmu3ufbvkfq9icyudnitfpxf3wnszpc

Tara Minton is a jazz harpist and vocalist from Melbourne, Australia. She is joined by an incredible band of musicians from the UK and Europe to present a new studio album, The Tides of Love. The work is based on a motif of ocean tides, with themes of love, loneliness, strength and hope woven throughout.Tara’s style mixes elements of jazz, folk and soul together, with a focus on storytelling through lyrics and music. She is often compared to Joni Mitchell and Ella Fitzgerald and draws inspiration from harpist Dorothy Ashby.Tara and her band regularly perform at festivals and jazz clubs, and run workshops in jazz harp and improvisation. Tara is also the only harpist to have performed on the iconic London Eye, and was chosen to honour the great Amy Winehouse at the unveiling of her statue in Camden Market.

Source: Late Night Jazz – Tara Minton — Royal Albert Hall

On rejections | Seraglio

A non-musical pressed blog but so relevant to us too. A very well written piece about rejection and all that entails. Jenny’s debut novel THE SECRET SON received rave reviews in Australia…a little birdie tells me she quite like Wagner after seeing the Opera Australia, Ring. Might she be tempted to write an opera libretto (See we got back to music…)

thesecret-son

Jenny Ackland is a writer and teacher who lives in Melbourne. Her first novel THE SECRET SON was published by Allen & Unwin in September 2015, and her second novel LITTLE GODS is forthcoming in 2017. LITTLE GODS has a gothic Mallee 1980s setting and is about resilience and revenge.

I’m writing this mainly I guess for any writers who might be reading. Rejections (note the plural) are part of the game. And it is a game, not a fun game or one of manipulation, but of patience, perseverance, and professionalism. Another thing: it’s a long game.

I wrote about rejection here, for author Lee Kofman, and how me submitting a terribly-written travel article back in 1990 (and getting rightly rejected – and in retrospect it was a LOVELY ‘No’ letter, I have the feeling it came from Jonathan Green) meant that I didn’t submit anything for years. I didn’t stop writing, I’m not that precious or thin-skinned, but If I’d known then what I know now, a slow-dawning awareness that started building once I started writing seriously with a view to publication from 2008 onwards, I would have seen that not only was that piece a draft, wholly unworked and not worthy of appearance outside of my diary pages, rejection does not mean you are shit.

Now, as I am sitting with a completed second novel manuscript, the first draft of a third ready for next-stage development, and fourth in its early stages, I am so glad that not only was that pathetic travel piece denied its place in the canon lol, but also that the first few submissions I made to literary journals were nixed as well. I know now that my novels need a long, long time in the oven, with the preparation of them like one of those crazy recipes that have so many ingredients you almost decide not to cook the bloody thing, but then you think, well, give it a whirl, it’s the weekend, I’ve got the whole day, and you make the hugest mess of the kitchen, use every pot and pan, and you kind of enjoy it but kind of think ‘why am I even doing this?’ And it took me a while to realise that if I can manage my impatience by thinking ‘the thing will improve, take your time, this is nowhere near finished’ and resist rushing it to readers, an agent, the publisher, then the pressure comes off a bit.

Advice on how to attract a publisher

—–READ MORE—–

Source: On rejections | Seraglio

Tait Awardee, James Guan is playing in the finals of the Intercollegiate Piano Competition

James Guan, pianoWe are thrilled to confirm that 2016 Tait Awardee, James Guan, will be playing in London’s famous recital venue, Wigmore Hall tomorrow morning, competing as the Royal Academy of Music finalist in the Intercollegiate Piano Competition.
You can watch him on live stream, for those Aussies playing along at home it will be tonight at 6:55pm AWST and 9:55pm AEST. The Intercollegiate Piano Competition aims to provide students with an opportunity for outstanding students to perform at well known London concert venues.

James is a featured artist in our 2016 Tait Winter Prom at St John’s Smith Square on Wednesday 30th November. James will play Australian composer, Malcolm Williamson’s 2nd piano concerto with the Tait Chamber Orchestra.  To book please click here

Final at Wigmore Hall – open to the public  

10th November 2016
10am – 2:30pm
entry fee: £8
Wigmore Hall, 36 Wigmore Street, London W1U 2BP

box office tel: 0207 9352141

10:00 – 10:50 Jonathan Ferrucci, Guildhall School of Music & Drama
10:55 – 11:45 James Guan, Royal Academy of Music

— 30 minute break —

12:15 – 13:05 Ilya Kondratiev, Royal College of Music
13:10 – 14:00 Oda Voltersvik, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

approx. 14:15 announcement of the winner

The final is open to the public. The four finalists will each perform a 45-50 minute programme of own choice including the compulsory work. The announcement of the winner is made approx. 15 minutes after the end of the last performance.

Adjudicators

All four piano professors of the heats/the semi final
all or at least one of the following three:
Paolo Fazioli, creator and builder of Fazioli Pianos and sponsor of the recital at the Fazioli Concert Hall
John Gilhooly, director of Wigmore Hall
Stuart Mitchell, S. W. Mitchell Capital LLP, sponsor of the live recording of the Wigmore Hall recital
As chairman:
Terence Lewis, Managing Director of Jaques Samuel Pianos

Intercollegiate Piano Competition

The Jaques Samuel Pianos Intercollegiate Piano Competition has taken place annually since 1996. Our competition aims to provide students with an opportunity to compete against like minded musicians, to gain experience in piano specific competitions and give outstanding students the opportunity to perform at well known London concert venues. The competition heats begin in May with the final and semi-final in October.

The winner will perform a solo recital at Wigmore Hall and at the Fazioli Auditorium in Sacile, Italy. The Wigmore Hall Recital will be recorded and he/she will receive 500 professionally produced CDs. A further four entrants will win a solo lunchtime recital at St James’s Piccadilly.

The competition is open to
all students (first year to postgraduate) of the four main London music colleges: Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Sponsored by S.W.MITCHELL CAPITAL and FAZIOLI
www.swmitchellcapital.com and www.fazioli.com

For more information

please download the leaflet: 5_pic_leaflet-and-entry-form
or contact us by e-mail: competition@jspianos.com.

Source: Intercollegiate Piano Competition at Jaques Samuel Pianos, London, UK

Behind The Ring: Part Two – Die Walküre — Re:hearsal Magazine

Part two of young Australian opera director’s, Greg Eldridge’s, article about assisting Neil Armfield on Wagner’s, Ring Cycle for Opera Australia.

Stepping behind the curtain of Opera Australia’s Ring Cycle. 

 Auf der Erde Rücken wuchtet der Riesen Geschlecht
On the Earth’s surface dwells the race of Giants
– Wotan, Act 1 – Siegfried

The first time working for any company is a bit intimidating – make sure you get signed in, get a pass, meet a thousand people and try to remember exactly who does what. I’ve arrived in Sydney for the first month (!) of rehearsals, which will take place in The Opera Centre studios in Surry Hills. In London, I’m used to everything taking place in the flash of an eye (a week for a revival of Tosca, 10 days to get together a Traviata, perhaps 3 weeks for a new production of Così) so I’m looking forward to a process that will span 6 weeks in rehearsal studios, then a further 6 weeks on stage before opening night.

To read the full article please click here to go to Rehearsal Magazine

Source: Behind The Ring: Part Two – Die Walküre — Re:hearsal Magazine

Elena Xanthoudakis to take on the Queen

The Australian soprano reflects on the challenges of singing Donizetti’s tragic Anna Bolena.

Elena Xanthoudakis as Anna Bolena for Melbourne Opera
Elena Xanthoudakis as Anna Bolena

While Anna Bolena is definitely on the larger end of the bel canto roles, it still requires great flexibility, as well as heft and drama where required. It is a great thrill to sing and while it is perhaps ‘heavier’ than some other bel canto roles – mostly due to the intense dramatic situation Anna finds herself in – one must remember to maintain a lilt and ease so that the voice remains flexible. There are also a number of lower notes: the bottom register is well applied by Donizetti to add drama and colour, and I absolutely love using a wide range of colours to characterise her journey. The challenges of the role lie in matching the tessitura and the weight or volume.

Sally Anne-Russell, Jane Seymour & Elena Xanthoudakis, Anna Bolena
Sally Anne-Russell, Jane Seymour & Elena Xanthoudakis, Anna Bolena

There are also a number of added cadenzas and high notes, so finding the balance between the elements is crucial. Anna is extremely fun to sing, as well as technically challenging – but again therein lies the fun too! Donizetti’s Anna Bolena departs from the historical details in a number of ways, done for dramatic licence. However, there is much that corresponds with the historical Anne Boleyn’s journey. In my opinion, her trial itself was a complete set-up, and the nature of it is made very clear in the opera.As for Anna’s mad scene, I would say it is less ‘mad’ than many! She begins the mad scene in a state of delusion, drifting in and out of awareness of her real situation. It begins in some respects like the Lucia di Lammermoor mad scene, in both concept – Anna is imagining a wedding – and orchestral colour. However, it soon shifts to much more dramatic colours and intense melodic shapes. It is perhaps less florid than roles like Elvira or Lucia, but is no less impressive. The role of Anna Bolena has been performed by a great number of sopranos, including Callas, Sutherland, and Netrebko. In an ideal world we would all love the dramatic intensity of La Callas, as well as the beauty of tone and flexibility of La Stupenda. Of the other major exponents of the role, I admire Beverly Sills for her recordings, which are extremely ornamented – perhaps too much? I would like to be at least as inventive where required. And though no recordings of Giuditta Pasta exist, one would hope to have a voice as strong and flexible as hers at the top, with the same depth and colour in the middle and bottom. Pasta, the original Anna, was a mezzo-like soprano, who was both the first Norma and Amina, the latter of which is substantially lighter and requires more limpid flexibility. Given the original Anna’s voice, and contemporary audience expectation for extemporised top notes, balance and care must be taken in order to maintain ease at both ends of the registers, to give the widest range of possible colour. Knowing the repertoire of Donizetti’s Tudor Queens, it would be a joy to one day have the opportunity to sing Queen Elizabeth in Roberto Devereux.

Elena’s performance of Mozart’s, Ch’io mi scordi di te? K 505, with Jayson Gillham and the Tait Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Kelly Lovelady, at the 2014 Tait Winter Prom at St John’s Smith Square.

Elena Xanthoudakis appears in the Australian premiere of Donizetti’s Anna Bolena for Melbourne Opera November 2, 5 and 9. Buy tickets here

Melbourne Opera stages the Australian premiere of Roberto Deveraux in 2017.

Win an A-Reserve double pass to opening night

sfx169978

Following the sold out triumph of Maria Stuarda last year, Melbourne Opera continues the great Donizetti trilogy bringing the bel canto masterpiece Anna Bolena to The Athenaeum for the first time this November.

Starring Elena Xanthoudakis (Anne Boleyn), Sally-Anne Russell (Jane Seymour), Eddie Muliaumaseali’i (Henry VIII), Boyd Owen (Richard Percy), Dimity Shepherd (Mark Smeaton) and Phillip Calcagno (Lord Rochefort).

Source: Elena Xanthoudakis to take on the Queen from Limelight Magazine

Sally Law, violin – Tait Scholar 2016

We are delighted to announce that, Sally Law, a young violinist from Queensland, has been selected as the 2016 Tait Scholar at the Royal College of Music. The Tait Scholar Award is funded by the family of Julian Baring, and is one of our flagship scholarships for young Australians.

sally_law_tait_scholar_2016

The adopt a performer scheme allows a donor to directly support a young Australian performer for a three year commitment. Please click here to learn how to actively involve yourself in the career development of a young performer.

Sally is playing in the Tait Chamber Orchestra in our Tait Winter Prom on the 30th November at St John’s Smith Square, conducted by Jessica Cottis. More information here

4619955_orig
Sally Law, Tait Scholar

SALLY LAW

Violinist Sally Law is currently a Tait Trust Scholar supported by a Big Give Award at the Royal College of Music, studying violin with Jan Repko. She began playing violin at the age of eight in Brisbane, Australia. In 2015, Sally held a solo performance for HRH Princess Alexandra at Queen Alexandra House.  Over this past summer, Sally played in the Macao Orchestra for their 2016-2017 opening concert; the Roman River Music Festival with her clarinet trio; as well as the 24-hour music marathon at St John’s Smith Square, London. Sally also recently performed in masterclasses with Alexander Markov and Professor Alexander Bonduryansky.

Sally has won prizes in numerous competitions, including First Prize in the Queensland Young Instrumentalist Competition in 2012, resulting in her debut as soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. She also received First Prize in the Strings Open Somerville House Solo Instrumental and Vocal Competition in 2011, and the Australia National Youth Concerto Competition Recitalist Award consecutively 2010-2012, amongst others.

Following her debut as soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Sally has performed solo recitals in the UK and Australia, including St Mary Abbots Church and the Claremont Centre in London, and the Brisbane Museum Concert Hall and Somerville House Valmai Pidgeon Performing Arts Centre in Brisbane. In 2013 Sally performed in a showcase performance, raising funds for the Queensland Flood Relief at the Brisbane Albert St Uniting Church.

Sally works regularly as a chamber musician, and has formed the Mellanie Trio with musicians at the Royal College of Music. The trio have received coaching from Alina Ibragimova and Trio Apaches. Recent engagements include a performance at the Austrian Cultural Forum. Mellanie Trio have also performed recitals at St Botolph Without Aldgate Church, the RCM Parry Rooms, RCM Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall, Austrian Cultural Forum, St James’ Church Piccadilly, and St Paul’s Church Covent Garden. She was also part of a string trio of Australian musicians who performed at numerous events including representing Australia in the Delegates Lounge of the International Maritime Organisation.

Sally performs as an orchestral musician, leading orchestras such as the RCM Chamber Orchestra, and orchestras of the Brisbane Grammar Senior String Festival 2008-2012, and Somerville House Choral Festival 2008 – 2012. She was also first violinist with the Queensland Youth Symphony in 2009 and the Australian Youth Orchestra in 2011, and has performed in venues including St Paul’s Cathedral, St James’s Church Piccadilly, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Town Hall.

Aside from performing, Sally is passionate about creating cross-art productions and artistic workshops. In 2015, she directed her first exhibition at the Royal College of Music in collaboration with a dancer, animation artist and other musicians, as part of the Great Exhibitionists Series, Butterfly Lovers – Unite Through Dimensions.  Albeit not professional, Sally is also an avid videographer and enjoys uploading films onto her YouTube channel ‘Musicado FM’.

Sally Law’s website

.

Lachlan Monaghan, ballet – Success in Birmingham Royal Ballet, The Tempest.

Tait Awardee, Lachlan Monaghan, performed the role of Neptune in The Tempest, a part that was created for him in the new Birmingham Royal Ballet production which is currently on tour in London (October 14/15), Sunderland (October 20/21/22), Plymouth (October 27/28/29).

Choreography – David Bintley Music – Sally Beamish
Design – Rae Smith

A personal note to Lachlan from our Chairman, Isla Baring OAM.

What a performance! You are a star, so proud of you!! I enjoyed the ballet so much, but even more when you appeared! I wish I could capture this on video. I met your mother as she was sitting behind us. 

Lady Anya Sainsbury is one of the greatest supporters of ballet, and I am overjoyed that we have this picture together. Bravo, I liked the music and the charming story.

Hope to see you soon maybe for a Gala performance for the Tait Trust!!! 

Exciting things are happening with our ballet awards. 

Congratulations, sensational. 

Love Isla x

More about the production

David Bintley’s new ballet conjures Prospero’s magical isle from Shakespeare’s late masterpiece into a spellbinding new work of ballet theatre.

At once enchanting and elemental The Tempest is a powerful story of a man determined to right past wrongs by all means in his power. This creative collaboration with acclaimed composer Sally Beamish, and designer Rae Smith (The Prince of the Pagodas, War Horse) intertwines themes of love, loyalty, and loss, punctuated by a comic duo, more than one dastardly conspiracy and a spectacular danced masque featuring gods and spirits.
Read more here