Passion is set to soar at Noosa Federation of the Arts’ (NFA) Afternoon Delight where famous opera tenor Robin Donald Smith (retired) will regale the audience with tales of his uber-famous father, Australia’s greatest operatic tenor, the late Donald Smith OBE.
Hear spellbinding stories about opera duets the father-and-son from Bundaberg, Queensland, performed and Robin’s struggle to assert himself as a world-renowned tenor in his own right. Brace yourself for surprise bursts of song by Robin along the way and (as rumoured) a duet with NFA’s artistic director, Brad Jarrett, whose illustrious titles include former artistic administrator Opera Queensland.
Donald and Robin made history as the first father-and-son tenors to perform together in Wagner’s Opera, Der Fliegende Holländer (The Flying Dutchman), with the then Australian Opera Company, (now OA – Opera Australia). They also appeared on the same stage as an operatic double bill at the Sydney Opera House with Donald performing his famous role as Canio in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci and Robin singing Turridu in Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. Hear some hilarious tales of how they both prepared for a life on stage by studying the acting skills required of their profession.
Robin will also speak candidly of his journey to find his own voice by leaving Australia to forge a stellar international career with the Sadler’s Well Opera Company (now the ENO – English National Opera). Despite dropping “Smith” from his name, the comparisons with his famous father were inevitable as the two mostly performed the same roles and both voices had a very similar vocal timbre.
Robin made his professional debut at the Coliseum Theatre, London, in 1968, in the role of Rodolfo in Puccini’s La Boheme. He toured Britain and Europe with Sadler’s Well Opera Company for a decade performing leading tenor roles in Verdi’s Rigoletto and La Traviata; Donizetti’s L'elisir D’Amore and Massenet’s Manon.
Career highlights include performing in operas celebrating the opening of the Sydney Opera House in 1973: Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi in the role of Rinuccio, and as Walther von der Vogelweide in Wagner’s Tannhäuser (Opera Australia); and signing with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa as Ferrando in Mozart’s opera Cosi Fan Tutte, at the London Opera Centre.
In 1974 the prodigal son returned to Australia permanently. For more than 10 years Robin was Opera Australia’s major principal tenor singing in La Boheme, Der Fliegende Holländer, Cavalleria Rusticana, Madam Butterfly and Fledermaus. An exciting raconteur with a great sense of humour, Robin will talk about working with many famous singers, conductors and producers including Dame Joan Sutherland and Janet Baker; Sir Charles Mackerras and Richard Boynage; and Sir Robert Helpmann and John Copley.
NFA was founded in 1989 to promote the arts within the local community and to elevate Noosa as a cultural destination. Funds raised by the bi-monthly Afternoon Delight community events help support the NFA’s youth mentoring programs including its flagship bi-annual Dame Joan Sutherland Award, the Schools Graduation Incentives, and the Rick Farbach Jazz Scholarship for a graduating Year 12 student.
Save the date: Friday August 26, 2.30-4pm for the next Afternoon Delight.
Guest speaker Professor Srini Srinivasan, QBI (Queensland Brain Institute), University of Queensland. View the world from inside a bee’s brain as Prof Srinivasan FRS takes us on a journey of discovery. Cross-pollinating ideas about these incredible insects on which our ecosystems, and indeed the world’s future depends, Prof Srinivasan’s discussion will certainly create a buzz!
What: Noosa Federation of the Arts (NFA) presents Afternoon Delight
When: Friday 24 June 2.30-4pm
Guest speaker: Famous opera tenor Robin Donald Smith (retired), son of Australia’s greatest operatic tenor, the late Donald Smith OBE
Venue: 131 Shorehaven Drive, Noosa Heads (private home, bookings essential)
Cost: $25 members, friends $30. RSVP & payment by Mastercard or Visa to Joanne Daley M: 0447 280 521 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org. Refreshments & cash bar
Noosa Federation of the Arts, Noosa Heads
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