Gala Entertainment

2020 - Amy Manford

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Australian-born soprano Amy Manford graduated with honors from the Royal College of Music with a Masters in Vocal Performance. While at the RCM she studied with world renowned lyric soprano, Janis Kelly and sung the title roles of Gontran in Chabrier’s Une éducation manquée with the RCM International Opera School and Clotilde in the London Handel Festivals production of Faramondo. Prior to her West End debut Manford performed internationally as a soloist with the London Handel, London Cello and the Perth Symphony Orchestras. She has also sung at iconic venues such as the Seoul Arts Center in South Korea and at Buckingham Palace for the Prince of Wales. More recently she was the featured performer at the closing event of London Fashion Week 2018. Manford is currently performing as Christine Daaé in Andrew Loyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera.

2019 - Ali McGregor

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Award-winning soprano, actress and cabaret artist, Ali McGregor started her career as a principal with Opera Australia in 2000, after studying music at the Australian National University and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. After performing over 25 roles she began her love affair with cabaret and created the Opera Burlesque show, first performed in The Famous Spiegeltent in Melbourne in 2005, and later at the Edinburgh Fringe and Glastonbury Festival. Her other shows include Midnight Lullabies and Late-night Variety-night Night. Born in Melbourne, London is now Ali’s home and we were thrilled to welcome her on to the stage for our 2019 Australia Day celebrations.

2018 - Belle Roscoe

New wave indie rock band Belle Roscoe led by brother-sister act, Matty and Jules, brought their extraordinary vocal and instrumental talents to our stage in 2018. Originally from Melbourne, the duo moved to London in 2016, after a stint in Paris, and have expanded their fan base from Australia to Europe. They have performed in Germany, France, Scandinavia, Cuba and the USA and made appearances at major festivals such as the Cannes Film Festival, the Isle of Wight Festival and the Rip Curl Festival. Since the move to the UK they have worked with a variety of international musicians and producers, including renowned DJ producer Luuk Cox, who produced their second album. Their latest release, the EP Sidestepping, came out last year. Their third album released is expected early next year.

2017 - Dami Im

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Dami Im, Korean-born Australian singer-songwriter and musician, moved the Brisbane from South Korea with her family at the age of nine. She studied in the Griffith University Young Conservatorium of Music and is best known for achieving the highest ever Eurovision score for Australia in 2016. Her career took off when, with Kylie Minogue as her mentor, she won X Factor Australia in 2013. After her talent show victory Sony Australia offered her a recording contract and her winning single, ‘Alive’, from her self-titled debut album went straight to number one in the Aria Singles Chart. Since then she has released two further albums, ‘Heart Beats’ and ‘Classic Carpenters’ and we were thrilled to welcome her to our stage for the 2017 Australia Day Foundation Gala Dinner.

2016 - The Veronicas

Australian pop duo, The Veronicas was formed in 2004 by twin sisters Lisa and Jessica Origliasso. Their 2005 multi-platinum selling debut album ‘The Secret Life of…’ reached number two on the Australian Album Chart and included three top ten singles. In 2007, the duo released their second studio album, ‘Hook Me Up’, which peaked at number two and had four Australian top ten singles including the chart-topping title track and international hit ‘Untouched’. Since then they have performed to capacity crowds in the USA, Asia, Europe and Australia and in 2014 released ‘You Ruin Me’, the first single from their self-titled third studio album. The song debuted at number one on the ARIA Charts, and also charted the USA and UK. We were thrilled to welcome The Veronicas to our stage.

2015 - Tina Arena

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Tina Arena, is an award-winning Australian singer-songwriter, musician, musical theatre actress and record producer and one of Australia's highest selling female artists. She has sold over 10 million records worldwide and in 2013 was voted Australia's all-time greatest female singer. Arena has earned several international and national awards, including seven ARIA Awards, and two World Music Awards for 'Best-selling Australian Artist'. In 2011, Arena became the first Australian to be awarded a Knighthood of the French National Order of National Merit, for her contributions to French culture. And this year will see Arena inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. Arena’s glittering career has spanned nearly 40 years and we were honoured to have her grace our stage with an unforgettable performance.

2014 - Human Nature

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Australian boy band Human Nature first hit the scene with debut album, ‘Telling Everybody’, in 1996. Since then four of their albums have reached number one on the ARIA Albums Charts and they have had numerous top 10 hits in the Singles Chart including ‘Wishes’, ‘Don’t say Goodby’, ‘Don’t cry’ and ‘Everytime you Cry’. The group have toured both nationally and internationally, including as a support act for Celine Dion on her Falling Into You Around the World Tour 1996-97 and Let's Talk About Love World Tour in 1998. They also opened for Michael Jackson on the HIStory World Tour in 1996-97. At the ARIA Music Awards of 2006 they won Highest Selling Album for Reach Out: The Motown Record. In May 2009 they began a residency performing a Motown-themed show on the Las Vegas Strip and this year they will complete their 1000th show. We were delighted that they could join us for the 2014 Australia Day Celebrations.

2013 - Tania Doko & Michael Flazon

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Singer-songwriter Tania Doko is best known for her success in Australian ARIA award-winning pop duo, Bachelor Girl. They debuted in 1998 with platinum-selling album Waiting For the Day and Top Ten single ‘Buses and Trains’. In 2000, the duo was invited to perform lead roles in the Tim Rice Musical Spectacular alongside industry legends INXS, Kate Ceberano and Anthony Warlow. Doko went on to land a role in Seriously. The Pet Shop Boys Reinterpreted which took her to the Edinburgh Fringe to rave reviews. She also toured with hugely successful Australian live show Let’s Get Together in 2008 with Jon Stevens, Ian Moss and Jack Jones. Doko moved to Sweden in 2011 and continues to write hit records of the likes of The Veronicas and X Factor winner Samantha Jade.

Michael Falzon is a Sydney born musical theatre/rock tenor best known for performing in the Queen and Ben Elton musical We Will Rock You throughout Australia, Asia and Europe. We were delighted to have these two great talents on stage together singing ‘I Still Call Australia Home’.

2012 - Caroline O’Connor & Grace Embassy

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This year we were delighted to welcome to our stage Australia’s Leading Lady of Musical Theatre, Caroline O’Connor. Winner of two Helpmann Awards for Best Female Actor in a Play for Edith Piaf in Piaf in 2001 and Judy Garland in End of the Rainbow in 2006, O'Connor's musical film work includes the role of Nini Legs in the Air in Baz Luhrmann's Moulin Rouge!, and Ethel Merman in the Cole Porter biopic De-Lovely. Her most recent appearance was as Phyllis Rogers Stone in the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s production of Follies. Sydney born Steven Grace is an award-winning performer, who most recently appeared in the West End musical Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and with Darcey Bussell in the BBC’s Xmas Day TV special Darcey Dances Hollywood. Last year Steven launched his production company in Australia, Big Finish Productions.

2011 - Tim Minchin, Michael Flazon & Jane Cho

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Extraordinarily talented Australian musician, actor, comedian and writer Tim Minchin took to the stage to entertain us once again. It was especially fitting to welcome him to our stage this year as it was also the year that we honoured him with the title 2011 Young Australian Achiever of the Year in the UK. Gala Dinner guests were also treated to a performance of ‘Advance Australia Fair’ by Australian musical theatre star and producer Michael Flazon accompanied on the violin by Jane Cho. Cho, who trained at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, has performed throughout Australia and internationally in some of the world's most famous music halls. Star of musical theatre, Falzon is best known for performing the role of Galileo in the Queen and Ben Elton musical collaboration We Will Rock You throughout Australia, Asia and Europe.

2010 - Philip Quast, Kirby Hughes & Sam Harrison

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This year Helpmann and Olivier award-winning actor and singer Philip Mark Quast graced our stage. He is perhaps best known for his role as Inspector Javert in the stage musical Les Misérables. Other outstanding roles include Georges Seurat in Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George and Emile de Becque in Rodgers, and in Hammerstein's South Pacific. He is also known for appearances in film and for his roles in television shows such as Ultraviolet, Brides of Christ, and Play School. Quast was joined by musical theatre favourites and Royal Academy of Music graduates, Kirby Hughes and Sam Harrison. Kirby recently performed in Crazy for You, The Pyjama Game and with Elton John at the Royal Albert Hall and is currently performing in High Society at the Gatehouse Theatre. Harrison was in the original cast of Beyond the Game at the Sydney Opera House before moving to London. Most recently he performed in Salad Days at the Riverside Studios before heading north to perform as Prince Rupert in Snow White.

2009 - Operacatz & ‘The Three Waiters’

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Hugely popular Australian Duo Operacatz delivered a stunning performance with highly original, witty and dramatic renditions of classic operatic arias. Operacatz founder Daniella Ehrlich is a Mezzo Soprano who studied at the Sydney Conservatorium and later in New York. Her career has brought her to Europe and she will be performing at Opera in the Arboretum in Pearl Beach later this year. Daniella is also to perform the role of Mercedes in the production of Carmen for Longborough Festival Opera. Soprano Rosie Havel joined her as the other half of this highly entertaining act. Our other talented young performers were Australian tenors, Mark Dickinson, Damien Humberly and Damion Scarcella, performing the original, award-winning ‘The Three Waiters’ act conceived in Sydney 10 years ago.

2008 - Mark Dickinson, Natalie O’Donnell, Craig Schneider & Nina Ferro

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This year we were entertained by three very talented young Australians currently making their mark in London’s West End. Mark Dickinson, Natalie O’Donnell and Craig Schneider wowed our guests with a medley of iconic songs associated with Australia and Australian performers. Dickinson has a long list of theatrical and screen credits to his name and most recently performed in The Drowsy Chaperone with Elaine Paige. Best known for originating the role of ‘Sophie’ in the original Australian production of Mama Mia!, O’Donnell has just completed filming My Life in Ruins with Richard Dreyfuss. Schneider is a multi award-winning pianist, vocalist, composer and respected jazz artist and currently Musical Director for The Rat Pack, Live from Las Vegas. We were also delighted to welcome to our stage to sing the Australian National Anthem gifted singer Nina Ferro. The 2008 entertainment was completed by band AS IS who had our guests up on the dance floor until 1.30 am.

2007 - Robyn Archer AO & Paul Grabowsky

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Australia’s internationally famous songwriter and cabaret legend Robyn Archer gave a stunning performance accompanied by brilliant pianist and composer Paul Grabowsky. Archer, who dedicated her performance to the memory of Maurice de Rohan, has performed all over the world and collected numerous awards along the way. Grabowsky, who has two ARIA awards to his name, is well-known both at home and overseas for his work in jazz and in film and television. We were also delighted to welcome performances by Cate Barr, London-based Mezzo-Soprano who began her career at the State Opera of South Australia on their Young Artists Programme; Baritone Leslie Flanagan who recently performed at the BBC Proms; and Sophie Sarfino, a unique young pop-violinist and singer songwriter known for her cutting-edge style.

2006 - Delta Goodrem and Imogen Roose, Adrian Dwyer and Benjamin Bayl

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Australia’s favourite singer-songwriter Delta Goodrem performed to rapturous applause. Goodrem, whose awards are too numerous to mention, has had three top ten singles and multiple platinum album sales in the UK. Last year she embarked on her first headline tour of Australia and went on to scoop three more ARIA’s. After Goodrem’s solo she was joined by Tim Minchin and Chelsea Plumley to perform a medley of iconic Aussie songs including ‘I Still Call Australia Home’, I Am Australian’ and ‘Waltzing Matilda’. Guests were then entertained by Australian classical singers Imogen Roose and Adrian Dwyer, accompanied by Benjamin Bayl on piano. Roose has sung several roles for Grange Park Opera and Pimlico Opera. Dwyer has performed in Europe and the USA and future projects include performances at the Royal Albert Hall and Cape Town Opera. Bayl is The Artistic Director of The Orchestra of the City and has worked as an assistant and repetiteur at ROH Covent Garden, ENO, Opera North, Opera Holland Park, ETO and Buxton Festival.

2005 - Caroline O’Connor, Jeremy Vinogradov & Jackie Bristow

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West End and Broadway star, Caroline O’Connor wowed guests with a medley of show tunes. Her signature roles include Nini in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge, Edith Piaf in Piaf, Judy Garland in End of the Rainbow, Velma Kelly in Chicago, Anita in West Side Story and Mabel in Mack & Mabel. Also gracing our stage on the night was Australian baritone, Jeremy Vinogradov. Vinogradov has worked with companies including British Youth Opera, Birmingham, D’Oyly Carte and Birmingham Opera Companies, Grange Park and Longborough Opera. When Australian songwriters were called upon to create a song that captured the essence of Australia, Jackie Bristow from Sydney rose to the challenge. She was the winner of the nationwide competition with her song ‘This Is Australia’ which she performed to our very appreciative audience.

2004 - Kaye Tuckerman, Grant Doyle & Catriona Barr

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We were thrilled to welcome to the stage cabaret singer Kaye Tuckerman, winner of the prestigious New York Award at the 2003 Sydney Cabaret Convention. She was accompanied by German-American jazz pianist Uli Geissendoefer on piano. Tuckerman made her professional debut at The Sydney Opera House, and as a singer, actress and dancer, has performed in musicals including Les Miserables, The Boy from Oz, Buddy, South Pacific and Jesus Christ Superstar. Her screen credits include The Matrix - Reloaded and The Matrix - Revolution. Baritone Grant Doyle and mezzo-soprano Catriona Barr received rapturous applause from an appreciative audience for their superb rendition of ‘Come What May’ from the film Moulin Rouge. The talented Nicole Panizza accompanied them on piano.