'I think therefore I am.'  Descartes            'I AM THAT I AM.'  Exodus.3.        'I am what I am.'  La Cage aux Folles

16 December 2015

The Diva and Me

Lisa Gasteen National Opera School Opera Gala
Friday 11th December 2015
Conservatorium Theatre

What a brilliant time I had at the The Lisa Gasteen National Opera School 'Opera Gala'. Firstly I must pay tribute to the amazing singers who have been through the top level training which Lisa Gasteen has given to top singers who enrol in her intensive one on one care. 

I have a few facebook friends that I have gathered this year after having experienced their fabulous voices in productions I have seen. I then with glass of red in hand got to meet, chat with and congratulate them all after the concert. Backed by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra I was overjoyed to hear the absolutely awesome Jeremy Kleeman (THUMBS UP ABOVE and from Faramondo and Australian Singing Competition), Samuel Piper (from Coronation of Poppea and Hansel and Gretel), Samuel Thomas Holland (The Addams Family) and Cameron Taylor (Coronation of Poppea). I was impressed so much by their voices last time I heard each although Cameron has since changed from Tenor to Baritone. All are Baritones or Bass Baritones and Jeremy and Samuel Holland have returned here for this concert. 
With 35 performers on stage including a wonderful chorus gathered from outside the school they were able to present some great and oh so famous scenes from Mozart's astonishing operas. Among the chorus was the wonderful Matthew Yates whom I had seen recently in Rent. Also from the Rent cast were the wonderful Michael Mandalios and Kieran Rodriguez earning some bucks by pouring me lots of wine.
It was a special moment when I caught up with Stuart Maunder Runs Opera NZ) who directed the evening. I had known Stuart around 35 years ago and one great memory was when he was a stage manager at Opera Australia and took us on stage of the Lucia set the afternoon before we were attending one of Joan Sutherland's stupendous performances. We sang the sextet badly but could claim we shared the same stage as Sutherland, just not at the same time.
Fortified by the wine I had drunk I managed something I had wanted to do for decades. I met Lisa Gasteen and had great chats about mainly my memories of seeing her in student productions at the conservatorium around 35 or more years ago and when I had bumped into her before and seen some spectacular productions like Force of Destiny, Don Carlo and many more. I kissed her hand and got some photos. Some were taken by the official photographer but I have to find out how to get copies. She and the photographer said all sorts of things and gave me names to contact but that left by brain as soon as I turned my head. Now the search begins. This is a blurry photo taken on my phone which I only bought two days ago and have no idea how to set up properly. I also ran into a few other fb friends and got home around midnight. There are other photos that were taken by the official photographer I hope to get hold of.
I am so pleased that some of these great singers told me about upcoming performances here in Brisbane which I will be at. Lovely to meet Samuel Piper's proud parents, A great interesting history professor with a love of the arts, a wonderful soprano Annika Hinrichs I have seen in Medea and Poppea.
As mentioned there was a function after the concert celebrating the 5th birthday of the school. You may never have been in a room where just about everyone from on stage and from the audience is a singer, except me and they sing 'Happy Birthday To Us' and led by one of the greatest singers in the world. It gave me tingles. That was a moment I will remember always.
Bravi !!!!!
Lisa as Brunhilda

This is the performance that won Lisa the Singer Of THe World competition in Cardiff in 1991. This is THE Voice that has made me so excited for decades.

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