A Night to Remember
Lisa Gasteen National Opera School
by Wis Jablonski
On the 7th of December a small contingent from Friends of Opera Inc. attended the Gala performance at the Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane.
The trip was made possible thanks to Ms Gillian French from Griffith University and Zeppelin Travel who provided transport and on-the-way entertainment.
I had attended a previous presentation on 13th of July, which I enjoyed very much, but this gala performance just blew me away. The quality of voices, acting and the sheer number of performing artists was fantastic to see and listen to.
Her brilliant idea to cultivate the local talents in our own country will allow more opportunities for the artists to flourish in a familiar and friendly environment without expensive training abroad, prohibited to many.
Prof Gasteen travelled the country far and wide and selected twenty five most talented and promising male and female singers.
After only three weeks of intensive training provided by Maestra and a number of national and international guest coaches, the group was ready and presented a very exciting repertoire. The auditorium was full of opera lovers, friends, families and good wishers.
And what repertoire it was; from the very light pieces of Die Fledermaus to the very difficult duet from Wagner’s Lohengrin; from Mozart to Richard Strauss; in total ten most interesting and vocally demanding arias and duets. The singers were accompanied by a team of fine pianists. It would be difficult for me to comment on the performances of all singers; they were all very good, vocally and artistically. They all wore formal, bejewelled attires making the gala a superb event.
What added to the enjoyment was the opportunity to meet the artists and their coaches over drinks and nibbles after the formal part was finished.
I had numerous discussions with those marvellous young people about their performance and their future. They seemed to be very optimistic having received such a great boost of confidence from the Masters.
Now an important part - like any other venture, even as noble as Lisa Gasteen’s, the National Opera School will require funds to survive. That is where we all can help. With our donations, the patronage of Griffith University and a panel of acclaimed teachers, the School’s reputation will spread across many countries,
I am sure of it.
Although Australia has a similar number of millionaires per head of population as the USA, regrettably the number of philanthropists is very small. One of the most generous, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch died recently, leaving a huge gap in charity and beneficiary work.
So, as always it is up to us, the public, to contribute, perhaps not large amounts but in large numbers. Donations to Lisa Gasteen National Opera School are tax deductible.
For more information on how to donate, please contact Ms Gillian French on 07 5552 7307 or e-mail her at