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23 June, 2003

Joan Sutherland Society of Sydney 25 year anniversary concert - with the Dame!

Sunday, 22 Jun 2003

Dear Colleagues,

We were treated to an afternoon of fine singing in St Paul's Church in Burwood with Joan Sutherland herself in attendance. The long awaited return of soprano Maria Pollicina was complemented by a number of previous scholarship winners and aspirants plus a daring and talented new pianist, Nathan Carruthers.

One high point was Catherine Carby in the Habanera which she sang while strolling amongst pews and parishioners. She also joined soprano Göknur Ray in 'Viens Mallika' from Lakmé. Both have warm and rich voices.

Bradley Cooper is a 25 year old tenor who has a light, crisp and accurate voice with the 'ping' needed for his Seragio aria 'O wie ängstlich'. He also succeeded in conquering the almost impossible Manon aria 'En fermant les yeux'.

Maria Pollicina sang 'Ritorna vincitor' last weekend at an "Opera Arts" recital, Sharolyn Kimmorley at keyboards. Again they combined to give us La Maya y el Ruisenor (Granados) and Kiss in the Dark (Herbert) to great acclaim. Ms Pollicina looked wonderful in a red dress and jewellery which caught the afternoon winter sun shining through the stained glass of St Pauls.

The concert opened with an extraordinary feat. Australia's 90 year old great lady of composition, Miriam Hyde played her own demonstrative piano piece "Ring of New Bells" following the chimes of the very bells which inspired it!

Other talents included baritone Craig Everingham, sopranos Jennifer Barnes and Annabella Redman and mezzos Katherine Tier and Domenica Matthews who each sang very well.

Congratulations to Doug Cremer and his committee for this successful, sell-out show. It was encouraging to see so many other wonderful artists and supporters in attendance. These included Heather Begg, Rosina Raisbeck, Clifford Grant, Malcolm Donnelly, Renée Goossens, Andrew McKinnon and Adrian Collette.

Afternoon tea was served in the parish hall and it was nice to mingle with the stars. I could not help over-hearing a withering conversation between a nice couple and La Stupenda. "We met you back in the 1960s and you were real lovely and signed our program". It was like meeting in the next life! Next they turned to me and asked if I would take their photo with Ms Sutherland. I was also behind the camera for Licia Albanese recently but never seem to get in the lime light myself!

comments by Andrew Byrne ..