The Friends of the State Opera of South Australia Incorporated

President’s Report

Fortieth Annual General Meeting

Sunday 17th April 2016

The 2015 Season of the State Opera of South Australia once again demonstrated the innovative and dynamic nature of the company of which we are proud to be ‘The Friends’. Throughout the year The Friends continued as always to support both the State Opera and its Young and Emerging artists through sponsorship and fundraising events as well as front of house support in the Opera studio.

Main Stage Production Sponsorship

The Friends were delighted to be sponsors for the main stage production in the Festival Theatre of Mozart’s Don Giovanni which featured a wonderful cast of South Australian artists, led by our own former Young State Opera Artist and now Internationally successful Grant Doyle. We were also honoured to be able to host our Patron, His Excellency the Governor, Hieu Van Le on the Opening night.

Language and Music Festival 2015

A highlight of the Friends’ year was the ‘Language and Music Festival’ which enabled The Friends to both showcase the talents and skills of the Young and Emerging Artists involved in the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation Opera Program as well as raise funds for State Opera. In each of the three events, ‘Una Festa Italiana’, ‘WilKommen im Kabarett’, and ‘La Vie Parisienne’ the language, music and colours of Italy, Germany and France were celebrated with songs and arias from our Young Artists and enthusiastic community singing from the many supportive Friends and guests present. At each event the Opera studio came to life with the each country’s national colours with guests enjoying each country’s classic food. The Friends were ably and willingly assisted by language coaches Alessandro Vecchiarelli, Margaret King and the indomitable Christine Rothauser. Congratulations and sincere thanks to the Friends’ Committee for their extraordinary hard work that ensured the success of this innovative Festival.

Supporting Young Artists

Supporting Young artists has been a key Objective for many years for The Friends and in 2015 The Friends’ were delighted to work together with the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation Opera program both by assisting in sponsoring and by their front of house support for the Masterclass series.

From the Christ Church North Adelaide Masterclass with Mario Bellanova and Gisele Blanchard, to the Opera studio Masterclasses with acclaimed Mezzo Soprano Liane Keegan, internationally renowned conductor, Nicholas Braithwaite, Musician in Residence for the 2015 Festival of Accompanists and one of the leading accompanists of his generation, Malcolm Martineau, to our own gracious and gifted Guila Tiver, acclaimed baritone, Douglas McNicol, and New Zealand Tenor, Patrick Power, we had the privilege of seeing and hearing our Young and Emerging Artists learn from these great talents and opportunities.

The Friends were also delighted to continue that support and help with individual Young Artists. In 2015 Adelaide mezzo soprano, Fiona McArdle was offered the chance to study at the New England Conservatory in Boston, USA with renowned soprano Ms Jane Eaglen. The Friends were proud to be able to assist Fiona with sponsorship that has enabled her to take up her two years of study. We look forward to hearing of her experiences and career development.

The Friends were also delighted to sponsor two of our well loved Young and Emerging Artists, Soprano Desiree Frahn and Tenor Branko Lovrinov to attend the Lisa Gasteen National Opera School in Brisbane. Both spoke to the great and positive outcomes of this remarkable experience and again, we look forward to being part of their future career pathways.

Congratulations must also be recorded for another outstanding Emerging artist Soprano Sarah-Jane Pattichis for winning The Friends of State Opera Dawn Wallace Aria Award at the Adelaide Eisteddfod.

Opera Voices Introduction

The ever popular Opera Voices Introductions continued their vibrant and successful path in the Opera studio with Friends and Guests eagerly attending to hear and learn from Directors, singers and conductors for Don Giovanni , Faust and the Verdi Requiem.

The Friends Opera Bar

The Friends’ Opera Bar was, as always, in happy and ‘bubbly’ evidence for the two Double Bills , Bluebeard’s Castle and Il Segreto di Susanna and Bastien und Bastienne and La Chanson de Fortunio in the Opera studio, two wonderful showcases in which our Young and Emerging Artists shone. Our thanks go to Marlene and Trevor Gregory for their continued excellent and loyal stewardship of the bar and the rest of the Committee for their ongoing support.

Spring Luncheon by the Sea

The Friends’ year came to a nautical end on a glittering sunny day in the glorious setting beside the marina at The Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron. The ‘Spring Luncheon by the Sea’ saw guests enjoying not only beautiful food and wine but being serenaded by our wonderful Emerging artists Jeremy Tatchell, Naomi Hede and Sarah- Jane Pattichis, accompanied by the legendary and gifted master of the piano, Dale Ringland.

National Opera Review

2015 was a full and eventful year for both The Friends and the State Opera. It opened with the Public Consultation for the National Opera Review being held in Adelaide. Those present spoke eloquently and passionately about opera in general and the State Opera in particular. People’s individual stories of their life involvement in opera and their commitment to State Opera were both moving and inspiring. In these challenging and often difficult times it is hoped that the outcomes of the review will help ensure a healthy and artistically vibrant future for the whole of the art form and of course, State Opera of South Australia.

2016 Fortieth Anniversary

As both the State Opera and The Friends enter this their Fortieth Anniversary year we celebrate the unbroken chain of dedicated people who have helped to, not only keep opera alive in South Australia, but also enabled it to thrive and take on a new creative life.

The story of the evolution of The Friends is one of dedication to the art that is opera through its passionate support, hard work and above all belief in the State Opera of South Australia. We know that support and belief will never waver.

In Gratitude

On behalf of The Friends may I take this opportunity to thank the amazing members of the Friends’ Committee, and their partners, who give of their time, talents and resources both personal and financial, with unstinting generosity and warmth; my colleagues the members of the State Opera Board and the State Opera SA team, led by the indomitable Timothy Sexton, for their constant support and assistance; the James and Diana Ramsay Foundation Opera Program for their continued support of our Young and Emerging Artists; our Young and Emerging Artists for their extraordinary dedication, enthusiasm and generous sharing of their talents and finally to you our members ‘The Friends’ whose love of opera and the State Opera will, we are confident, ensure a healthy and strong future for this great art form.

Pauline Brooks OAM


The Friends of the State Opera of South Australia Inc