Lauren Fagan selected as Australian representative in 2019 Cardiff Singer of the World

We are delighted to confirm that Lauren Fagan is to be the Australian representative in the 2019 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World.

To be selected as your nation’s representative is  a great honour, we are thrilled for her

Twenty singers from 15 countries have been chosen for this summer’s competition.
The contestants come from 15 countries – three Russians, two each from South Korea, Ukraine and USA, and others from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, England, Guatemala (for the first time), Mexico, Mongolia, Portugal, South Africa and Wales.

Lauren was supported by the Trust in 2013 & 2014 during her studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Her award was funded by Michael Whalley OAM & Karen Goldie-Morrison.

To learn more about how to support a young artist from Australia or New Zealand please contact James

james@taitmemorialtrust.org

To learn more click here

Glowing reviews for Jessica Cottis conducting ‘The Monstrous Child’

The reviews are in for the world premiere of The Monstrous Child’ by Gavin Higgins and Francesca Simon, a new production directed by Timothy Sheader and designed by Paul Wills, at the Linbury Theatre, The Royal Opera House. We are thrilled to see that #TaitAwardee, and Chair of the Tait Music Board, Jessica Cottis has received such glowing reviews for her work. Brava Jessica, we are so proud of you.

Isla Baring OAM, Chairman of the Tait Trust

“I had tickets for the opening night of The Monstrous Child,  and it was sensational!  Jessica Cottis was brilliant the way she handled this modern music, the incredible production, and the singers in this new opera. Bravo to Covent Garden at the newly refurbished  Linbury Theatre. The reviews say it all! We are so proud of Jessica who is really making her way Up!! I am sure.”

Isla Baring OAM with Jessica Cottis

 The Times: 

“…superbly delivered by the Aurora Orchestra under Jessica Cottis’s direction” 

The Telegraph:

“Jessica Cottis conducts the Aurora Orchestra with aplomb.”

Financial Times

“…strikingly brought to life by the Aurora Orchestra conducted by Jessica Cottis” 

The Arts Desk: 

“Jessica Cottis directs members of the Aurora Orchestra with incisive clarity, deploying her forces strategically, always mindful of the singers who must project Simon’s text without the help of surtitles. It’s no small praise to say that you hardly lose a word.”

The Stage: 

“riotously conveyed by the Aurora Orchestra under the baton of Jessica Cottis” 

Classical Music: 

“Cottis creates an ideal balance”

Planet Hugill: 

“In the pit, Jessica Cottis drew a striking sound world from the players of the Aurora Orchestra” 

 

In Conversation: Jayson Gillham | Rehearsal Magazine

Jayson Gillham is a featured artist in our 25th Anniversary Concert, Stuart Skelton sings Wagner at St Paul’s Church Knightsbridge on Wednesday 13 September at 7pm. Tickets are still available book here via this link

Fascinating Q&A with him published in Melbourne based Rehearsal Magazine.

On homesickness, networking and practice techniques.

Your newly released third album features the rarely-heard Medtner Piano Concerto No. 1 in C Minor. How did you discover the work and what was the process for programming the remainder of the record?

I was asked to learn Medtner’s first concerto for a feature documentary about the Australian pianist Geoffrey Tozer. Along the way I asked ABC Classics General Manager Toby Chadd whether it was something they would like to record and he liked the idea very much. At the time I was also working on the Rachmaninoff No. 2 with MSO for one of their free concerts at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. It seemed like a great pairing, as the two men were contemporaries and friends. Toby Chadd suggested I add a couple of short solo works, and together we chose the beautiful Medtner ‘Angel’ and I chose the Rachmaninoff D major Prelude.

Performing for a live audience is, I imagine, a different beast to playing for a recording. Does the way you prepare the pieces going into the studio differ from the way you prepare for a live performance?

I always like to prepare everything as if it is for a live performance, however the process of studio recording is different. It could be compared to recording for film as opposed to live theatre. Sometimes you have to start at Act Two Scene Three and be immediately in character and aware of where this scene fits within the overall structure of the work. It can be mentally tiring because you need to maintain this intensity over a number of days.

Since relocating to London for study in 2007, you have performed across the globe with some of the world’s best orchestras and conductors. Can you tell me about that initial trip to the United Kingdom, what it was like to move away from Australia, and now how you look after yourself on the road when you’re away for so much of the year?

This is a great question. I can’t believe it’s already ten years since I left sunny Queensland. It’s a very difficult thing on reflection, to move so far away from home, and to be a country boy at heart who’s grown to form a love-hate relationship with city life. At the beginning, when I first moved to London, I was so caught up in the excitement of study at the Royal Academy of Music and new friends at my student halls that I didn’t realise what an upheaval it was. But after my first trip back to Australia I became very homesick. Over time things have settled to a point where I’m left with bittersweet feelings of being partly at home and partly out of place wherever I go.

I’m getting better at packing for trips. I don’t like quick trips where I have to take only hand luggage and be corralled through large clunky European airports. Those trips are very draining because what should be only a one or two hour flight ends up taking almost a full day by the time you factor in the train/bus journeys at either end and the 2-3hrs you need to be at the airport before the flight. European airports tend to serve a number of different cities and are not close to any of them. Australian domestic air travel is an altogether painless experience after flying in Europe.

I try to eat healthily and for me that means 95% of what I eat is whole plant foods. It’s a very nutritious diet that gives me a lot of energy and I tend to bounce back from the travel better now eating this way. For exercise, while I’m travelling it can be difficult. I really like Feldenkrais, which is popular amongst musicians but less well known than Alexander Technique. It teaches you a really fine awareness of your body through very gentle and pleasant movements. I can get away without massages most of the time now if I keep up with a regular Feldenkrais practice. It helps me to address an imbalance between the left and right sides of my body and a tightness in my mid back which can build up over time if I’m not careful and start to cause me problems. I have added this to my repertoire of strength and physio/pilates based exercises that I can take on the road with me anywhere. But I highly recommend to anyone, especially performing artists, to delve into Feldenkrais. There are endless resources online and a good place to start is www.feldenkrais.co.uk.

Being a professional pianist takes a lot more than just great technique and musicianship: in fact, you have to be fantastic at lots of non-musical things! Outside of the practice room, what have been the most important skills you’ve needed to develop?

For all musicians and especially those focused on mostly solo work and spending a lot of time alone, it is crucial to develop social skills and an ability to communicate with your audience. These days everyone wants to have a more personal connection with the artist and I always try to see the audience after the concert and say hello. For solo recitals in a more intimate or less formal setting, I will introduce each piece, talking about its historical context, its context in the life of the composer, and often my personal connection or experience with that piece.

Another critical skill is an ability to network and promote yourself and your work, with self-respect and discretion of course. At the end of the day no one is going to be as committed to helping you out as yourself, so it is very important to keep contacting promoters, agents, critics, etc, and finding other musicians you like and want to work with. The right tone and balance has to be struck, of course, because friendly reminders and updates can quickly turn into spam emails and unwanted calls.

With recitals and examinations fast approaching for students, getting performance-ready is the task at the front of the mind. Do you have any advice for musicians on dealing with feelings of performance anxiety and stage fright? How do you keep nerves in check before a performance?

I am perhaps not the best person to ask about performance anxiety because I know that it can range from nerves to something rather serious and debilitating, which fortunately I have not experienced. I think it would be wise for anyone with a crippling kind of anxiety to seek professional help in the form of therapy. There are many people who are very experienced in this and I have had friends who have benefited from therapy regarding performance anxiety.

I’ve been very lucky in that my nerves are mostly positive ones that help to make my performance more exciting and narrow my focus on stage. The only times I’ve had the bad kind of nerves is when I’ve felt underprepared, and so I would caution everyone, especially if they have to memorise their works, to know their music well enough that they can pick it up at a number of different points throughout the piece. Practising in a way that really reinforces forms of memory other than muscle memory is very important. Try practising a piece starting at a different point each time, and really get to know where you are structurally in the piece, such as what key you are in and where it modulates to next. Get to know your fingerings and inner voicings, and for pianists, practise the hands separately to the point of being able to completely memorise just the left hand, or try playing only the inner notes of chordal passages to strengthen your deep knowing of the piece. For a contrapuntal work, try singing one part whilst playing all the others. All of these tricks really help to secure a performance to the point where nerves are not going to cause debilitating worry on stage.

I think the more I’ve performed the more I’ve realised that the audience are there to enjoy the music, and they are not there to criticise me at every turn. There might be a couple of people in your average audience who go to concerts wanting to pick everything apart, but the vast majority are appreciative and understanding. People really want the performance to go well for you. And those listening who are performers/teachers/examiners, they have all been on stage themselves and know only too well the pressure of performing. They will also be hoping and wishing that it goes well for you.

Finally, if you could go back to the start of your performance career and give yourself one piece of advice about the industry, what would you say?

Repertoire! Learn lots of repertoire and learn it thoroughly, because later on you will have less time to learn new things. Look after your body. Learn languages (do as I say and not as I do when it comes to this one!).

Jayson Gilham’s new recording with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Benjamin Northey is now available to purchase and download here.

Published with the kind permission of Rehearsal Magazine. 

Read the original article here

To learn more about Jayson Gillham please click here

Stuart Skelton sings Wagner | Concert now on sale

The Tait Memorial Trust is to present renowned Australian tenor Stuart Skelton, at a gala concert to celebrate our 25th Anniversary at St Paul’s Church Knightsbridge, on Wednesday the 13th September at 7pm.

“Stuart Skelton’s Tristan is the finest account of Wagner’s most extreme and taxing operatic character…that I’ve ever seen or heard on a stage.”  David Nice, The Arts Desk, June 2016

Stuart is arguably the world’s leading Wagnerian Heldentenor; he is critically acclaimed for outstanding musicianship, tonal beauty and for his intensely dramatic portrayals. As Tristan, he recently opened the 2017/18 season at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, and will make his long-awaited Royal Opera House debut singing Siegmund in Die Walküre in 2018.

To book click here

He will shortly appear in this year’s BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall singing Florestan in Beethoven’s Fidelio. Accompanied by pianist Richard Peirson, Stuart will be joined by some of the Tait’s talented past and present awardees, Catherine Carby who is singing in the Royal Opera’s Ring Cycle next year, Deborah Humble who most recently recorded Erda for Naxos with Hong Kong Philharmonic, Katrina Sheppeard who last year sang Norma for English National Opera, Jayson Gillham who’s CD of Chopin, Bach and Schubert went to number 1 in Australia, and Liane Keegan, our first awardee, will return to London after a triumphant season in Melbourne’s recent Ring Cycle.

All are appearing to help raise funds for the Tait Trust’s work of providing scholarships for young performing artists from Australia and New Zealand studying in the UK.  The evening will be introduced by Richard Wagner’s great-great grandson, Antoine Wagner.

Connor D’Netto | Tait Scholar 2017

We are delighted to confirm that Connor D’Netto is to be our 3rd Tait Scholar at the Royal College of Music, a generous award sponsored by the Julian Baring family. We wish him all the very best and look forward to working with him as he aspires to reach the very top of the musical world.

Being awarded the title of the Tait Scholar means so much to me. It’s incredibly encouraging to have this support as I take this next big step in my career, moving to London and beginning to really establish myself in the International music scene. Studying at the Royal College of Music is an important part of this, and it mightn’t have been possible without the generous support of the Tait Memorial Trust.

Connor D’Netto | June 2017

I have been selected as a fellow of the prolific American new-music ensemble Bang On A Can. As part of my fellowship, I have been invited to take part in an intensive three-week residence as part of their Summer Music Festival, held this July at MASS MoCA, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts. My new work summer / summer, a concerto of sorts for saxophone, two voices, and chamber orchestra, will be premiered by the ensemble
as a feature in the Festival.

I am the artistic director and co-founder of Argo, a contemporary classical music concert series based in Brisbane, Australian. Argo has four concerts left in 2017, collaborating with the likes of Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra, the Viney-Grinberg Piano Duo (Liam Viney and Anna Grinberg), soprano Merlyn Quaife, violinist Monica Curro, pianist Stefan Cassomenos, Opera Queensland, the Queensland Music Festival and the Queensland
Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, and presenting four newly commissioned works by young local composers, including new work by me, as well as multiple Australian premieres.

Media:
• Website: www.connordnetto.com
• Facebook: www.facebook.com/connordnetto @connordnetto
• Twitter: www.twitter.com/connordnetto @connordnetto
• Instagram:  www.instagram.com/connordnetto @connordnetto

Videos & Recordings of interest:
o Recording: String Quartet No. 2 in E minor, winner of the Australian New Works Award 2015:
https://soundcloud.com/connordnetto/string-quartet-no-2-in-e-minor-live-micmc-2015


o Video: Texture No. 1 for Orchestra: https://youtu.be/vhVNFbRorRE

Biography:
Connor D’Netto (b. 1994) is a Brisbane based composer of contemporary classical music, described as “the model contemporary Australian composer” by ABC Classic FM. Throughout his works, Connor balances the quasi-neoclassical with post-minimal influences, combining
them with contemporary performance practices, unique one-off concerts and performances, and the delicate incorporation of electronic music elements and production techniques. His music combines driving post-minimal rhythmic elements with heartfelt lyrical expression drawn from his extensive performance experience as a classically trained bass baritone, contrasted with textural devices that push the expectations of an instrument’s capabilities without confronting the audience. Connor’s music has been commissioned and performed across Australia and abroad, including commissions from ensembles such the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Queensland’s Camerata and new music specialists PLEXUS, and performers such as Katie Noonan, Karin Schaupp and Claire Edwards.

In 2017, Connor has been selected as a fellow of Bang On A Can. As part, his music will be featured at Bang On A Can’s Summer Music Festival at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Arts (MASS MoCA) in July, and will travel to the USA to take part in a three-week residency with the ensemble. In 2015, Connor was named winner of Chamber Music Australia’s Australian New Works Award. His winning work, String Quartet No. 2 in E minor, became the set work for the 7th Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition and received premieres by three internationally chosen finalist ensembles at the Melbourne Recital Centre. He has also been awarded a Brisbane Arts and Cultural Innovation Award 2017 for his contribution to the Arts, the Percy Brier Memorial Composition Prize 2016 for his Texture No. 1 for Orchestra, and the Donald Tugby Musicology Prize and Scholarship 2015 by the University of Queensland for exceptional contribution to the field of music research.

Connor is the artistic director, producer, and co-founder of the successful contemporary classical music concert series and collective Argo. Founded in 2015, Argo creates immersive art music experiences bending the boundaries of genre and artform, combining contemporary classical music with electronic music, live-visuals, and fostering creative collaborations between artists of various mediums. Its focus is on creating experiential and concept driven events that fuse classical instruments and ensembles with contemporary influences and new
modes of musical expression.

To find out more about Argo, head to www.argosound.com.

As a performer, Connor is a trained classical bass, having previously studied with Shaun Brown. Connor is also a talented photographer, videographer and visual-artist, creating and shooting not only material for his music, but also for a number of other local artists and musicians. Currently Connor is working on his PhD through the University of Queensland, having completed a Bachelor of Music (Honours) at the University of Queensland, graduating with First-Class Honours in 2016. In September, Connor moves to London, where (while continuing his PhD) he will study his Masters of Music at the Royal College of Music.

More about Connor and his work can be found at www.connordnetto.com.

Samantha Crawford, soprano | 2017 Julian Baring Award

We are delighted to confirm that Samantha Crawford has been awarded the 2017 Julian Baring Award. The Julian Baring award winner is selected personally by our Chairman, Isla Baring OAM, it is one of the Trust’s most prestigious awards. This summer Samantha will debut at the Bayreuther Festspiele in concert and perform Agathe DER FREISCHÜTZ for Blackheath Opera.

This year we are thrilled to announce that awards to the value of £47,100 are to be offered to young performing artists from Australia and New Zealand. This is an increase of 22% compared to last year’s awards, awards growth has been an outstanding 362% in the past 5 years. We will be announcing our other music award recipients in the coming weeks. This growth is due to the incredibly generous support of our Friends and our Principal Partner, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Thank you!

Samantha Crawford

Samantha graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama’s Opera Course, where she studied with Yvonne Kenny AM as a Baroness de Turckheim Scholar. Samantha is the winner of the Golden Medal with Honours at the 2017 inaugural Berliner International Music Competition, First Prize and President’s Prize at the 2016 Wagner Society Singing Competition and Royal Philharmonic Society Chilcott Award finalist.

Equally at home on stage singing in opera or concert, Samantha has performed at Glyndebourne, Edinburgh Festival, Scottish Opera, Aldeburgh Festival, Garsington Opera,
Opera Holland Park, Wigmore Hall, Barbican, Wales Millennium Centre and Schlosstheater
Schönbrunn. She received critical acclaim for her recent performances of Rosalinde DIE
FLEDERMAUS, Contessa LE NOZZE DI FIGARO, Donna Elvira DON GIOVANNI, Micaela
CARMEN, Erste Dame DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE and Mrs. Coyle OWEN WINGRAVE. Her
performances have been broadcast on live cinema relay in Europe, on television and radio for the BBC and filmed for DVD (Sony).

Recent engagements include Samantha’s debut at Teatro Real Madrid as a Blumenmädchen PARSIFAL under Semyon Bychkov, debut at the Bayreuther Festspiele in concert, Agathe DER FREISCHÜTZ for Blackheath Opera, title role in SOUR ANGELICA at Théâtre municipal de Fontainebleau, Fiordiligi COSI FAN TUTTE for Scottish Opera and Miss Jessel TURN OF THE SCREW for GTO covers. In concert, Chausson’s POÈME DE L’AMOUR ET DE LA MER at Barbican Milton Court, Mozart’s REQUIEM under Martyn Brabbins, Wagner’s WESENDONCK LIEDER for City of London Festival and Strauss’ VIER LETZTE LIEDER at Blackheath Halls.

Photo credit: Jeremy Hosking

Website: www.samanthacrawford.com

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNSDS49jfKLzjx3E0f3KIEg

THE AUSTRALIAN CHARITY ART AUCTION | Australia House 28 February 2017

The Australian Charity Art Auction is an event that will be taking place at Australia House on 28 February 2017. We are delighted to be supporting the event. Both before and at the event more than 50 Australian artworks will be auctioned in aid of a number of much loved and very worthwhile UK based charities that have Australian connections.

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There will be an on-line silent auction over the two weeks leading up to the event (starting on Wednesday 15 February) and a live auction conducted by a Christie’s auctioneer at the event itself.

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The event will also feature a reception and a concert performed by some wonderful Australian singers, musicians and music scholars.

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You can find further information about the auctions and the event at www.australiancharityartauction.co.uk

You can also register on the website, to bid at the silent auction and to attend the event.

We do hope you will support these charities and the event.

Ensemble Molière plans to produce Rameau's opera, 'Pygmalion' | Interview with Jakab Kaufmann

Jakab Kaufmann is a successful bassoonist from Sydney now based in Europe. He trained as an orchestral musician and a conductor in Sydney before moving to Basel where he studied early music at the renowned Schola Cantorum Basiliensis.

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Jakab Kaufmann

Now living in Bern, he has established himself as a freelance musician working with ensembles and orchestras in Switzerland, Germany and the UK, playing on both modern and historical instruments. One of his upcoming ventures is a new, innovative production of Rameau’s Pygmalion with his colleagues in the London-based Ensemble Molière. Speaking to Jakab, I asked him about his work and this exciting new project:

How does an orchestral musician make the leap to specialising in early music, particularly after studying to be a conductor?

While I was studying conducting at the Sydney Conservatorium, I was asked to play baroque bassoon for the early music ensemble’s performance of Gluck’s “The Pilgrims to Mecca.” I’d never played this instrument before and I thought it sounded horrible but once I braved the potential embarrassment of playing in front of other people, I discovered the incredible resonance within an ensemble. I started playing more and more and learned to love the difficulties of playing such a different instrument. There seemed to be so much to learn and enjoy from playing music on an instrument so distantly related to the one I’d previously dedicated my life to.

Like so many Australian musicians you decided to move overseas. I am interested to know why you chose Switzerland? Was it your first choice?

I decided a long time ago that I wanted to move to the German speaking world and in 2011, I attended a summer school at the Humboldt University in Berlin. I spent a month there improving my German and I still have a soft spot for that city. My path changed however and whilst I still entertain the idea of returning to conducting someday, my goal quickly re-focussed on being a well-rounded musician in whatever form it took. I flew to Europe in 2013 and travelled around, doing masterclasses on both modern and baroque bassoons, and visiting different teachers until I decided on Basel and its famous Schola were perfect for me. It’s a very international school with a great balance of academic research and performance-based projects. The community is very positive and creative, which lead to some great friendships and fantastic opportunities.

The UK can be quite a distant world to the continent without the right connections. How did you began to work here?

I attended the Dartington International Summer School’s Baroque Orchestra Programme with a scholarship in 2013. The environment there is so open and relaxed that it’s conducive to amazing opportunities. I made friends with many different musicians there, including established professional musicians who have been able to organise projects with me. In addition to various audition processes, I’ve also reconnected with a lot of friends from Sydney who have moved to the UK. The life of a freelance musician is very much dependant on who you know and luckily, some lovely people have helped me get my name out there.

As a founding member of the young early music group, Ensemble Molière could you tell me about your work and the repertoire you play?

We first played together in this combination in 2014 at the Dartington International Summer School and the first piece we played was the “Deuxième récréation de musique” by Jean-Marie Leclair. That experience made us realise that we worked well as an ensemble and that we all wanted to play more French music. Since then we’ve gone on to perform concerts in Brighton, Graz, Bruges and Utrecht, as well as more regular concerts in London.

We were lucky enough to participate in the Brighton Early Music Festival’s Early Music Live! Scheme in 2015 and we were invited to return for our own concert in the 2016 Festival. We’ve expanded our repertoire and recorded our music and we’re always looking for opportunities to push the boundaries of the modern-concert programme.

French music retains an element of mystery today and I was curious as to why you think we don’t see enough of it on today’s concert programmes:

When you study music in English and German-speaking schools, French music before Debussy rarely gets a look in. The truth is, Paris has played a more important role in music than Vienna or London at various points throughout history. For example, in the Middle Ages, the French-speaking world was essentially the musical centre of Europe. That changed with the printing press, the migration of Netherlandish musicians to Italy, and of course, the reformation.

harvard_theatre_collection_m1520-r212_f4_1748_-_pigmalion_title

However, the French court at Versailles was an incredible force for artistic support and the “French Baroque” led to some of the most unique music this world has ever known. Because of the rivalry with the Italians and the influence of kings like Louis XIV, French musicians played very different instruments in a very different way. The wind instruments were built in another way, the string players used different bows, and the keyboard instruments had their own designs. The performers would also use very individual ornaments, which some composers like Couperin took the time to write down with full explanations. The music itself is sometimes harmonically dissimilar to the German high-baroque masters that people tend to think of and it can also feel more static than the repetitive patterns of the Venetians like Vivaldi. I think this is why performers have, in the past, neglected the nuanced and delicate sounds of France. The good news is that French music is constantly being rediscovered!

Your upcoming project at festivals in London and Brighton will see a new take on French Opera.Could you tell me a bit about the project’s background?

As our first large-scale project, we wanted to explore a genre that is not commonly addressed by chamber groups but is incredibly important to the French Baroque: Opera. Rameau’s greatest contributions to music include his solo keyboard works, his theoretical writings and his many operas. The forces required to perform them are so large that most opera companies don’t stage his works too often. As a result, his music doesn’t get heard often enough. We thought we would bring one of his shorter operas, at 45 minutes, to the people with a more accessible medium with a smaller ensemble on stage.

Rameau’s Pygmalion is based on the original Greek legend of a sculptor who falls in love with his own creation. Most people today would be more familiar with the George Bernard Shaw version which came much later, and led to the even-more popular “My Fair Lady.” We’ve teamed up with artist Kate Anderson and director Karolina Sofulak to present a live performance of the opera with animation and simplified surtitles, so as to make it accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

I would be interested to know about what stage the project is in? What are your plans for such an ambitious undertaking, how are they progressing and how can audiences can help?

We’re still at the funding stage which is looking very promising. We will be applying to the Arts Council for a grant to make the project happen once we’ve secured enough funding from other sources. We’ve started a crowdfunder to collect an initial investment of £3000 by 9th January. This would show the Arts Council that we have support from both the artistic and wider community for this project. We’ve been offering rewards ranging from Thank-You tweets right up to private concerts in peoples’ homes. If you’d like to contribute, the crowdfunder site with a video explaining the project can be found here: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/ensemble-moliere. Any help is always appreciated as we’re very passionate about getting this project off the ground and onto the stage.

As you can see, Jakab is dedicated to expanding the confines of the contemporary musical experience. We wish him and his ensemble all the best for this exciting project. We are thrilled to see Australian musicians like himself pushing the boundaries and we can’t wait to see where his career takes him next.

Please click here if you would like to be a part of Rameau’s, Pygmalion, with Ensemble Molière

 Ensemble Molière website

Jakab played first bassoon in the Tait Winter Prom, Tait Chamber Orchestra in 2014 & 2016

 

 

 

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”.

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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

Tait Patron: Danielle De Niese on The Barber of Seville | Glyndebourne

Our Patron, Australian soprano, Danielle de Niese starred in the  Glyndebourne 2016 production of The Barber of Seville. The BBC has just announced its Christmas schedule and we are delighted to share the news that the acclaimed production will be shown on BBC Four this December. The broadcast will be preceded by a documentary that follows Danielle de Niese in her preparations for the role of Rosina.

danielle-de-niese

Birth of an Opera:
Danielle de Niese on The Barber of Seville
7.00pm, Sunday 18 December, BBC Four

Offering unparalleled insight into the process of staging an opera, the documentary follows Danni as she prepares to make her debut in the opera’s starring role of Rosina. It also features interviews with director Annabel Arden, conductor Enrique Mazzola, designer Joanna Parker and key Glyndebourne figures.

Il barbiere di Siviglia

Immediately afterwards, at 8.00pm, audiences can watch the opera in full, recorded live this summer.

Source: Glyndebourne