We’re very happy to report that the harvest 2015 is in the cellars of our growers and best of all it seems the quality of the fruit and juice is outstanding. Soon we’ll be starting to assemble the new vintage and we are ecstatic that we should be able to produce something truly special for you. October is the start of the mellow season in Provence and the vineyards are producing a last fireworks of colours and other crops like Figs and Pomegranates are coming into season – this really is a great time to come down and visit if you get the chance!
The Tait Trust are delighted to announce that John Frost AM has kindly agreed to be a new Patron of the Trust here in the UK and has also agreed to be Patron for the Tait Performing Arts Association in Australia. We are also thrilled to congratulate him on being awarded the AM (Member in the General Division) part of the 2014 Queen’s Birthday Honours Australia.
This has been a significant year for our new Patron as he was also awarded the coveted, JC Williamson Award from the Helpmann Awards. It is significant to us too as the Trust was created to memorialise the great work done by Sir Frank Tait and his four brothers when they ran The Firm/ J.C.Williamson’s Ltd. We are delighted to know that the name of this once great Australian firm has been immortalised in this wonderful award.
The article below is reprinted from the Helpmann Awards site
Live Performance Australia (LPA) has today announced that revered theatre producer John Frost has been named the 2014 JC WILLIAMSON AWARD™ recipient.
The JC WILLIAMSON AWARD™ is the foremost honour that the Australian live entertainment industry can bestow. The award recognises individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the Australian live entertainment and performing arts industry and shaped the future of our industry for the better. Past winners include such iconic figures as Dame Joan Sutherland OM AC DBE, Barry Humphries AO CBE, Michael Gudinski AM, John Farnham AO and Graeme Murphy AM to name but a few.
John Frost has produced some of Australia’s most successful musical theatre productions over the past 3 decades. From the early days of the Gordon Frost Organisation with Hello Dolly!, The Secret Garden, Cabaret and Crazy for You to blockbuster musicals of more recent times such as Wicked, The Sound Of Music, Annie, The Wizard of Oz, Grease The Arena Spectacular, Chicago, South Pacific and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, John Frost has nurtured and steered the careers of hundreds of cast and crew with his passion and imparting knowledge. This year alone sees him producing multiple shows around Australia including Grease, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Wicked – 10th Anniversary production, The King and I with Opera Australia, and Once with the Melbourne Theatre Company.
John commenced his impressive career at the age of 16 when he was employed as a dresser on the J.C. Williamson Ltd production of Mame. The dedicated teenager worked his way up within the theatre world to Wardrobe Master, Stage Manager, Company Manager and eventually Producer. Having produced countless successful Australian productions over the years John has also gained international respect having won 2 Tony Awards for the Broadway productions of Hairspray and The King and I and currently has 2 shows playing on London’s West End, The Bodyguard and Blithe Spirit. John’s Australian productions of The Producers,Wicked and Legally Blonde – The Musical won Helpmann Awards for Best Musical in 2005, 2009 and 2013 respectively.
“I am truly grateful to Live Performance Australia and the JC Williamson Award Committee for this incredible honour. Receiving the JC Williamson Award™ is the highest tribute that can be bestowed on someone working in the performing arts industry, and to be acknowledged by my peers for a job I love is gratifying and inspiring. I’m humbled to be in the company of Googie Withers and John McCallum, Kenn Brodziak, Clifford Hocking, Tony Gould and other past recipients of this prestigious award. Thank you.” said John.
John Frost will be honoured at an industry celebration hosted by LPA in association with Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in Brisbane on Monday 19th May. The night will include special performances as well as a host of special guests paying tribute to the theatre impresario and his outstanding contribution to the live performance industry in Australia.
LPA President Andrew Kay said, “We are thrilled to announce John Frost as this year’s JC Williamson Award recipient. John joins the ranks of a group of individuals who in their own way, and in their own field, have made extraordinary contributions to shaping and changing the landscape of our dynamic live performance industry. John’s contribution to commercial musical theatre in Australia is internationally renowned and esteemed in this country. We are delighted to be able to formally recognise his contribution and achievements at a celebratory dinner in May and at the Helpmann Awards on 18 August.”
NSW Minister for Tourism, Major Events and Minister for the Arts, George Souris today congratulated Mr Frost on his prestigious award, which will be presented at the Helpmann Awards at Sydney’s Capitol Theatre in August. The Helpmanns, supported by the NSW Government, recognises those who have made an outstanding contribution to the performing arts industry.
“Over the past three decades, John Frost, who hails from Sydney has produced some of Australia’s most successful musical theatre productions, many of which have premiered right here in Sydney.” Mr Souris said.
“It has been a great joy to work with my friend John Frost during this exciting period of development for Opera Australia. John is the ultimate professional and his advice and knowledge of the music theatre business is not only highly perceptive but it is fuelled by a real passion for the theatre. He is also a wonderful human being whose generosity of spirit and his genuine love of the theatre is inspiring to everyone who has had the privilege of working with him. He has been (and still is) an extraordinarily strong advocate for Australian artists and I believe that there is no-one who is more deserving of this prestigious award than John Frost….and there is no-one who is a finer ambassador for our industry.” said Lyndon Terracini, Artistic Director Opera Australia.
QPAC Chief Executive Mr John Kotzas paid tribute to Mr Frost calling him one of the great legends of the stage in Australia. “I’ve worked with John for many years now and the professionalism and consistently high quality productions that John tours around Australia are remarkable. John is a well-respected and most welcome producer and guest at many venues around the country – I know QPAC staff are always eager to work with him and our audiences certainly show their support. Well done John!”
JC Williamson Award ™ presented by Live Performance Australia™ in association with Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Australian soprano, Kiandra Howarth, a member of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme had a great success at the ROH. Blogger and opera reviewer Sarah Noble@primalamusica reporting from London ROH’s “Dialogues of the Carmelites by Poulenc-“.
Thought the Bel Canto crowd would like to hear about another Aussie success – Kiandra Howarth went on this morning as Soeur Constance in the general of Carmelites (replacing an ill Anna Prohaska) and did a truly wonderful job.
A masterclass in how to triumph as a cover – if I hadn’t known, I’d have sworn she’d been in it from the start. Can’t wait to see and hear more from her, here and elsewhere. We also had the luxury of Catherine Carby as Soeur Mathilde!’
Winner of 2014 @CelloAwards #Australia @Y2_Squared Yelian He and Yasmin Rowe are to give a recital @Wigmore_Hall on Sunday 25th May at 7.30pm. A concert not to be missed. Yelian, a former Tait Awardee, will be playing with us in our 2014 Tait Young Australian Performers concert @StJohnsSmithSq on Tuesday 9th December. More details of this special Tait concert to be released shortly.
Noted for its exceptionally creative programming and electric partnership, Y-Squared performs a wide variety of repertoire ranging from Boccherini to Kapustin. Since its conception, the duo has performed all over Europe and Australasia, generating a worldwide following. Forthcoming recitals in 2014 include performances at Bridgewater Hall and St Martin-in-the-Fields, as well as tours in Wales, Scotland and Australia.Kirckman Concert Society/Sarah Gordon Concert Management. Supported by Lankelly Chase Foundation Reg. Charity
It has been awhile since I last wrote with an update on things happening in London so hope you enjoy some of my news and developments.
It seems like a long time ago now but less than a month ago we had the performances of my final opera at Guildhall ‘The Adventures of Pinocchio’. We were lucky enough to have Jonathan Dove the composer come to many of the rehearsals and also to work with Eilene Hannan on the English as they riskily decided to have no surtitles for the performances. Overall the opera was very well received as it was the first time a conservatoire had performed it. I have included some photos from the show – the Blue paint was very hard to get off every night and my elbows have only just come clean.
Glyndebourne chorus rehearsals started two weeks ago, I have moved from London to the beautiful town of Lewes (the main town closest to Glyndebourne).
I am living in a big house with my friend Josh, another singer from Guildhall – although there are lots of singers all scattered around the town.
We each have our own room and big living space but share the house with an older couple. I’m very glad I chose to live in Lewes as it makes it possible to go in early to practice and also spend time with all the other singers (however in saying that, it is just over an hour to get back into London by train so will be going back most weekends to keep singing lessons up).
The first opera I am a part of is Eugene Onegin – last week the main challenge was working on all the Russian but it has all come together very quickly and the sound is very impressive already. Shortly we will begin work on La traviata (where I will be covering one of the small roles ‘Annina’) and then later on Don Giovanni.
A few days ago The Royal Opera House announced the coming season for next year. I have been giving some nice little roles that will allow me to ease into the intense year coming up.
My biggest role will be singing Giulia in Rossini’s ‘La scala di seta’. This opera won’t be on the main house stage but is a chance to perform with the other new Young Artists and with orchestra. I have already started working hard on this role as Giulia rarely leaves the stage and the role involves a fair amount of coloratura (fast passages of notes), which my voice is currently not particularly attuned to doing!! I’m feeling very motivated to develop this technique as I think if I can master this role a whole new area of repertoire will be opened up to me and I also want to make a good first impression.
For the Opera house main stage I’m very excited to be singing Papagena in Die Zauberflote and will also be one of the ‘Girls’ in The Rise and Fall of Mahagonny.
The roles that I will be covering include Gianetta in L’elisir d’amore, Oskar in Un ballo in maschera and Jemmy in Guillaume Tell – there are a lot of big names singing the lead roles in these operas so will be great to see them at work.
Just before heading to Glyndebourne I had the Jette Parker Induction week. The other 4 young artists selected had come from all over to be there; it was a funny experience to be the only girl with four extremely tall boys but I’m sure I will get used to it 🙂 It was also nice to see the two other Australian’s Sam and Sam who I know well from my time with the Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust
We launched straight into a week of sessions to give us a taste of the various coaches and services we have access to – now and for the rest of our lives!
Over the week we were involved in sessions including Stage Fighting, Media and Interviews, Stagecraft, Movement, Alexander technique, Vocal Coaching with a number of regarded teachers (including Yvonne Kelly), and Mind Skills – which I found particularly interesting as the woman taking the session is able to help with things from organisation, to calming nerves, building adrenalin and switching off after performances to fall asleep.
So far I am loving my first real taste of singing work – although sometimes it’s hard to think of Glyndebourne as work when you are singing in such a beautiful environment.
Hope all of you are well, and would love to hear any news from back home.
The Trust are thrilled for Lauren and for the two Sams, Sam Sakker and Sam Johnson, for gaining 3 of the 5 coveted positions at Covent Garden. They will be joining Australian soprano Kiandra Howarth and stage director Greg Eldridge in the programme.
We are thrilled to hear that Yelian He, Tait Awardee 2009, has been awarded the inaugural Australian Cello Awards. Congratulations Yelian. Yelian was the recipient of the Allen-Evans Scholarship, the Grand Prize of the inaugural Australian Cello Awards Competition, the Audience Prize as well as the Sydney Symphony concerto prize.
Yelian performs with Yasmin Rowe in their Cello and Piano duo Y2QUARED. Listen to them performing the Beethoven Sonata for Piano and Cello in F here
It is our great pleasure to be able to let you know that Yasmin and I performed at the finals of the inaugural Australian Cello Awards Competition on the night of 30th March 2014. We were incredibly fortunate and privileged to be selected by a jury of eminent Australian musicians as the Grand Prize winner as well as the recipient of the Audience Prize and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Concerto Prize. (Yelian will be back in Sydney to perform a concerto with the Sydney Symphony in 2015/16)
Needless to say, we’re both over the moon – we both love Australia very much for it’s weather – people – and food. We thought you’d be interested to know as you are an important part of why we were able to achieve this, so thank you very much for your support and we look forward to being able to give you more good news as the time goes by.
On Tuesday March 18th the Trust invited our Friends to the home of the Australian High Commissioner, Stoke Lodge. The evening was hosted by Sasha Carruozzo, wife of Mike Rann CNZM the Australian High Commissioner, and by Tait Memorial Trust Chairman, Isla Baring OAM. The Trust are terribly grateful to Mike and Sasha and want to publicly thank them for their generosity in allowing us to use their home to entertain our guests.
We were delighted to welcome many of our most valued and generous supporters, the Deputy Australian High Commissioner, Mr Andrew Todd and his wife, and the Agents’ General of Western Australia, Queensland and Western Australia.
Awardees present included: Greta Bradman, Soprano; Benjamin Mellefont, Clarinet; Xenia Deviatkina-Loh, Violin; Sophie Moffatt, Ballet; Kevin Penkin, Composition (2013/14 Tait Scholar); Calvin Richardson, Ballet and Adam Szabo, Cello.
Joining us was Sam Sakker, a young Australian tenor who is to sing at the Royal Opera House in their Jette Parker Young Artist Programme from September 2014, who sang Lehar’s classic, Dein is mein ganzes Herz and the Australian National Anthem all a capella. He has the most thrilling voice with the richest/warmest tone. Adam Szabo, Tait Awardee 2013, played some selections from JS Bach’s cello suites…incredibly beautifully.
We launched our new Friends scheme which includes a new initiative called, Adopt a Performer. The scheme would link a donor, or a group of donors, to one awardee for three years ( the length of the typical undergraduate degree or course) For a minimum subscription of £75 Tait Friends receive discounts to Tait events and an invitation to an annual reception. The greatest benefit to all donors is the knowledge that they are making a tangible difference to the life of a young Australian performing artist. More information about our new Friends scheme can be found here
Julian Gavin, new Tait Patron
Our new Patron, Australian international tenor, Julian Gavin was introduced to our Friends and has agreed to join our Music Board (the selection process for the 2014/15 awards begins soon. Applications for music awards close on Monday 31st March. More info here
The Leanne Benjamin Awards
An honoured guest was Australian principal ballerina, Leanne Benjamin OBE. Recently retired from The Royal Ballet after a 21 year first class career with the company, Miss Benjamin has agreed to join us to create a new award(s) in her name which will help fund the studies of young Australian dancers in the UK. Called The Leanne Benjamin Awards the Trust are producing a gala reception with a masterclass taken by Miss Benjamin and Australian senior teacher at the school, Mark Annear, at The Royal Ballet School, Floral Street, Covent Garden. This fundraising event will be held in the Linden Studio at The Royal Ballet School on Thursday 12th June. We are very grateful to the staff and students at the school for allowing us to use this excellent venue for our event.
Tickets to this special Tait event are available here
The Tait Memorial Trust are thrilled to announce the launch of a new recording by Tait Awardee, Elena Xanthoudakis, and the great Australian master of Bel Canto, Richard Bonynge. Released by Signum Records the CD will be officially launched in March 2014 generously supported by the Borletti Buitoni Trust. Please watch the attached video
2008 Tait Prize winner, Elena Xanthoudakis was nominated for a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2011 and is a ‘Borletti-Buitoni Trust artist’. The BBT and Signum Records have come together to present Elena in a solo recital disc of ‘Bel Canto’ arias called ‘Jewels of the Bel Canto’ with the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Maestro Richard Bonynge. Jewels of the Bel Canto’ is for release April 1st 2014 and also features special guest artist, Australian Mezzo-soprano Catherine Carby, as Alisa in Lucia.
The process of making this CD involved Elena coaching with Maestro Bonynge in his home in Switzerland which were also supported by the Tait Memorial Trust.
A recording of Dame Joan Sutherland, live in Australia 1965 (Vol. 2) Desiree Records is available via this link
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.
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.
Following the enormous response to the initial Joan Sutherland Live In Australia 1965 (unfortunately no longer available), Desiree Records brings us a sequel which includes Sutherland performing the entire role of Lucia di Lammermoor, plus other rare and unknown recordings including alternate casts.
NOTE: These historical recordings derive mainly from old reel-to-reel quarter-inch tape, recorded with, sometimes, primitive methods. Studio efforts have been made to keep any unnecessary surface noise to a minimum without harming the clarity of sound reproduction.
Also available from Desiree Records are these two collections of Robert Allman and Nance Grant.
Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti):
– Ancor non giunse!
– Regnava nel silenzio
– Quando, rapito in estasi
– Egli s’avanza…La vicina soglia
– Sulla tomba che rinserra
– Qui di sposa eterna fede
– Verranno a te sull’aure
– Il pallor funesto, orrendo
– Soffriva nel pianto
– Se tradirmi tu potrai
– Ebben? Di tua speranza
– Ah! Cedi, cedi, o più sciagure
– Al ben de’ tuoi qual vittima
– Dov’ è Lucia?
– Piange la madre estinta…
– Chi mi frena in tal momento?
– T’allontana, sciagurato
– Il dolce suono
– Ardon gli incensi
– S’avanza Enrico!
– Spargi d’amoro pianto.
Joan Sutherland (Lucia), John Alexander (Edgardo), Cornelis Opthof (Enrico), Clifford Grant (Raimondo), Dorothy Cole (Alisa), Sergei Baigildin (Arturo) – Richard Bonynge – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne, July 10th 1965.
– Bel raggio lusinghier
– Se la vita ancor t’è cara
– Ebben, a te: ferisci.
Joan Sutherland (Semiramide), Spiro Malas (Azzur), Lauris Elms (Arsace) – August 1965 exact date unknown.
La Traviata (Verdi):
– Libiamo ne’ lieti calici
– Che è ciò?
– Un di felice.
Joan Sutherland (Violetta), Alberto Remedios (Alfredo) Andrè Montal (Gastone) – exact date unknown.
– Seigneur, daignez permettre à votre humble servante.
Joan Sutherland (Marguerite), Richard Cross (Méphistophélès) – cond. William Weibel – August 10th 1965.
La Sonnambula (Bellini):
– Care compagne….Come per me sereno
– Sovra il sen la man mi posa
– Prendi: l’anel ti dono.
Joan Sutherland (Amina), Luciano Pavarotti (Elvino) – Richard Bonynge – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Sydney – October 9th 1965. Encore: Home Sweet Home. Richard Bonynge (Pianoforte), Closing Night – Melbourne.
Bonus Tracks: The Alternate Sopranos
Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti):
– Sulla tomba che rinserra
– Qui di sposa eterna fede
– Verranno a te sull’aure.
Elizabeth Harwood (Lucia), Luciano Pavarotti (Edgardo). Faust (Gounod):
– Alerte, ou vous ètes perdus!
Doris Yarick (Marguerite), Alberto Remedios (Faust), Joseph Rouleau (Méphistophélès)