Dear Friends and Supporters

The Opera & Arts Support Group has operated now for 28 years, but sadly we have to advise you that because of the work load and failing health, we have made the difficult decision to close down.

We have forged many lasting friendships with our supporters who have, we believe, supported our events because with lots of hard work and the fact we were always able to present events of quality and value for your enjoyment.

Your invaluable support has facilitated the Group to fund talented singers and musicians to study with local and overseas coaches and at prestigious overseas conservatoires to the tune of over $1 million to assist their professional development and advance their artistic and performance standards.

The Group funded, assisted and supported a multitude of young singers to further their careers and reach their artistic potential. Their professional development was helped by the provision of funding grants to assist with vocal lessons, coaching fees, language studies, acting, stagecraft and movement tuition, masterclasses, workshops, vocal scholarships, living-away expenses, airfares, and supporting their international studies and auditions. We funded coaching with Australia’s leading vocal coaches and singing teachers, and also supported visits to Sydney of overseas specialist teachers and distinguished vocal coaches to work with our emerging artists.

Anna Sweeny AM – opera movement and stagecraft teacher working with young singers studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and Opera Australia chorus members.

Lisa Haganehau – vocal coach, a huge success over several visits, masterclasses with Opera Australia chorus and private students.

Chuck Hudson – New York stage director and master teacher funding several visits sponsoring his stagecraft and movement workshops and individual coaching with Opera Australia singers and private students.

Nicole Alexander – producer, performing arts entrepreneur – fostering gifted young artists by supporting Alexander Productions of A Mid-Summer Opera, A Mid-Winter Opera, Carmen The Musical workshops and performances, full production of Les Miserables at NIDA and the Sydney premiere of the critically acclaimed opera, Dead Man Walking starring Teddy Tahu Rhodes.

Patrick Nolan – an innovative project funding workshops of young opera singers working with
NIDA directing students overseen by opera and theatre director, Patrick Nolan, together with
vocal coach and accompanist, Sharolyn Kimmorley AM.

Mary King – sponsorship of a series of masterclasses with young singers held over two days in classical and music theatre repertoire at NIDA with Mary King, the dynamic force behind the British television series Operatunity and the subsequent series on music theatre, Musicality. This significant project was co-ordinated by Sharolyn Kimmorley AM, who also accompanied the classical singers with Anne-Maree McDonald accompanying the music theatre singers.

Neil Semer – internationally respected American voice teacher – sponsorship of masterclasses and vocal coaching for emerging young singers.

Neil Gooding, Neil Gooding Productions – financial support of the original cast recording of the new Australian musical The Hatpin. Music by Peter Rutherford, book and lyrics by James Millar.

The Group was proud to further support the highest standard in the performance of opera through sponsorship by generous benefactors, Paul Rein, Emiel Doeland, Paul Worthington OAM and Peter Hutchison of the Opera & Arts Support Group Vocal Scholarship, a major event in the Sydney Eisteddfod over a period of 25 years. Graham Matheson kindly sponsored the People’s Choice Award.

Peter Hutchison is acknowledged for his generous support and encouragement of deserving young singers and musicians.

We started Sunday afternoon concerts in private homes – the architecturally stunning home of ill Lloyd and his sister Patsy Lloyd in Bayview – one of many.

Luncheon and recital on the Oriana – cocktails and inspection of the QE2, unique events which had to cease after 9/11.

The Group was invited on many occasions to the residences of the Consul General of the United States of America and the British Consul General for delightful musical soirees. Government House was the scene of many memorable events, as was the Verbrugghen Hall at the Sydne Conservatorium of Music. We were honoured with the Vice Regal presence on several occasions.

For many years we were invited to Ascham School’s Packer Theatre by our Patron, Rowena Danziger AM to showcase established and emerging musical talent. Tamara-Anna Cislowska and Simon Tedeschi both performed there as young pianists from the school of Tamara’s mother, Neta Maughan AM.

Stuart Maunder AM performing and directing outstanding Gilbert & Sullivan dazzling events at Government House, The Scots College Auditorium, The William Wilkins Gallery and to a standing ovation in the Justice & Police Museum. Stuart was also an enthusiastic supporter of several concerts presented in the Packer Theatre. We also enjoyed his inimitable wit and expertise when he compered some OASG events.

Melvyn Morrow, the world premiere performance of his Victoriana Vaudeville, Dickens Down Under for the OASG at the Genesian Theatre. He was also entertaining as a distinguished OASG compere.

The William Wilkins Gallery was a special long-term venue for our annual spectacular Christmas celebrations of musical theatre and cabaret produced and directed by Tyran Parke with musical direction by Luke Byrne, where we enjoyed dinner, accompanying wines and brilliant entertainment performed by the stars of Australia’s musical theatre and cabaret artists.

Our coach trips to the country are legendary where we were wined and dined in true country style touring many interesting places including Orange, Bathurst, Cowra, Gulgong, Mudgee, Newcastle, Gloucester, Moss Vale, Nelson Bay, Port Stephens, Camden, Morpeth, Fullerton Cove, the Blue Mountains, Middle Dural, Kenthurst, and the Southern Highlands. Entertaining concerts and recitals were presented in appealing local venues featuring major opera stars with emerging artists many of whom are now establishing careers in London, European and American opera houses.

We expanded our horizons with two weekends in Melbourne with our supporters. Highlights of our inaugural weekend included a private visit to the Johnston Collection in East Melbourne, an a la carte luncheon in Carlton. A champagne reception, dinner with accompanying wines and an opera recital in the grand ballroom at “Astolat” the magnificent home of Peter Reilly and Linton Soderholm in Camberwell, followed by supper with the artists. Our second Melbourne trip included an Italian lunch in Carlton, a coach trip to Montsalvat, Australia’s oldest artist colony in Eltham, tour of the buildings with a touch of European colonial times, reception, dinner, wines in the baronial hall, then recipients of the Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust Awards Scholars presenting Nellie in Her Own Write and after interval a recital of opera favourites and supper with the artists. A Sunday garden party was held at “Astolat” with guests enjoying delicious food and boutique wines, while being serenaded by a string quartet and further entertained with an opera recital in the ballroom. Musical director and accompanist was Sharolyn Kimmorley AM.

This is just a minute chronicle of the myriad of events we were honoured to present for our wonderful loyal supporters.

We gratefully salute the hundreds of extraordinary artists who have given their time and exceptional talent to entertain us at all of our innumerable events, many on several occasions. A special thanks to the marvellous accompanists and musical directors who ensured the success of our concerts and recitals, including Sharolyn Kimmorley AM, Bradley Gilchrist, Simon Kenway, Tamara-Anna Cislowska, Lindsay Gilroy, Luke Byrne, John Martin, Anne-Maree McDonald, Jem Harding, Francis Greep, John Haddock, Robert Andrew Greene, Benjamin Burton and Glenn Amer.

We acknowledge the support and efforts of our founding committee members, the Late Sally Greenhill, the Late Lali Aginian, the Late Dr Ian Dicker whose apartment was the scene of many splendid and very crowded recitals, Kay Gordon and Paul Worthington OAM.

We acknowledge the dedication and hard work of all our voluntary committee members over the years and their vital contribution to the Group’s endeavours.

We acknowledge the support of our valued Patrons, Rowena Danziger AM, Lauris Elms AM OBE Hon D Mus (Syd) and Sharolyn Kimmorley AM.

We thankfully acknowledge the outstanding generous support and encouragement of Maurice Cooper OAM and Kerry McKenzie over the entire 28 years.

It has been an amazing and rewarding journey. We hope you think of the happy times when you hear our young artists perform and read of their overseas success. By your support of the OASG, you will have the satisfaction of having played a major part in their artistic achievements.

We say a sad farewell and sincerely thank you for your steadfast support and wish you all the best of health and happiness in the future.

Paul J Worthington OAM

Jennifer Emmerton

Elisabeth Pidd

30 June 2019