Government House Reception Celebrating 40th Anniversary of The Friends

The Friends were delighted and privileged by His Excellency the Governor, The Honourable Hieu Van Le AO, Patron of The Friends of State Opera and Mrs Lan Le graciously holding a reception at Government House on 21st April to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of The Friends.

Friends and Guests gathered in the beautiful surroundings of Australia’s oldest Government House to enjoy the gracious hospitality of His Excellency and Mrs Le.

His Excellency warmly welcomed all present with an opening speech which set the tone for a most delightful evening. His Excellency reminded us of the history of The Friends , of its beginning as the New Opera Subscribers Committee in 1973 and how the Committee went on to change its name to The Friends of the State Opera of South Australia in 1976 in response to the Company, then New Opera SA, becoming, through state legislation, The State Opera of South Australia. He noted that over the past forty years The Friends have been dedicated to assisting and supporting the State Opera in all its activities, programs and productions and that in the past five years alone The Friends have donated over $150,000 to the State Opera for their main stage productions and over $ 20,000 towards the professional development of Young and Emerging Artists.

In thanking their hosts President Pauline Brooks invited His Excellency to present three Life Memberships and a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of The Friends who were proud to acknowledge these outstanding individuals.

Mary Handley

Life Membership Mary Handley OAM

In 1976 Mary Handley, as the first President together with the indomitable Kathleen Steele Scott, forged an organization that has, for forty years, seen an unbroken chain of dedicated people committed to supporting the State Opera of South Australia.

Elizabeth Campbell

Life Membership Elizabeth Campbell

Elizabeth Campbell is one of Australia’s most distinguished Mezzo Sopranos.

Through her beautiful voice, her intelligent and deeply emotional connections to her music and the composer, Elizabeth has shared with us the ultimate gift of the great artist, the act of transformation.

Debra Pahl

Certificate of Appreciation Debra Pahl

For twenty five of the last forty years the State Opera team has had at its core, someone we, The Friends, could always call on to help us, who was always ready to assist with any task with smiling reassurance. For her unbroken record of loyal friendship and service beyond the call of duty, The Friends proudly awarded Debra Pahl, with a Certificate of Appreciation in gratitude and recognition of her outstanding service.

View the photo gallery here