CategoryOur Diary

Canberra Opera announces new Artistic Director

Distinguished Australian singer Peter Coleman-Wright AO has been visiting Canberra to hear voices from the region prior to taking up his appointment as Canberra Opera’s Artistic Director in the new year.

Coleman-Wright has performed throughout the world’s great opera houses, including The Metropolitan Opera New York, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, English National Opera (most recently in the title role of Glanert’s Caligula) and the Glyndebourne Festival.

Canberra Opera’s Stephanie McAlister talks to Barbie about Peter Coleman-Wright AO’s appointment

He created the roles of John in Johnathan Harvey’s Inquest of Love, Colin in David Blake’s The Plumbers Gift and Harry Joy in Brett Dean’s Bliss which he performed in Australia and at the Edinburgh Festival.

He has sung in the opera houses of Paris, Bordeaux, Munich, Amsterdam, Geneva, Milan, Florence and at the Aix-en Provence and Bregenz Festivals. In North America he has sung in Houston, Santa Fe, New York (City Opera) and Vancouver.

For his native Australia he has sung Scarpia, Macbeth, Mandryka, Don Giovanni, Il Conte, Germont, Billy Budd, Balstrode, Pizzaro, Onegin, Golaud, and Sweeney Todd, winning the Helpmann Award for Best actor in a Musical.

As a concert artist he has performed in all the major venues throughout the world, most notably at the BBC Proms, the South Bank Centre. Barbican Centre and Wigmore Hall in London, Avery Fisher Hall, New York, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Sydney Opera House and Melbourne Concert Hall and he has recorded extensively for Telarc, Chandos, Hyperion, and EMI.

He was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Melbourne, and was awarded the Order of Australia in the 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Keep up with Canberra Opera at

Behind the Lines – The Greatest Hits Tour

The year’s best political cartoons 2019
Museum of Australian Democracy, Old Parliament House, Canberra

The winner of this year’s Cartoonist of the Year Award  is Jon Kudelka. Kudelka’s cartoons have appeared in The Australian and he has recently joined the team at The Saturday Paper. He sees the main aim of political cartooning as ‘puncturing the pompous and the puffed- up.’

Barbie spoke with curator Jennifer Forest
Sydney Morning Herald cartoonist Cathy Wilcox spoke to Richard about political cartooning
Continue Reading“Behind the Lines – The Greatest Hits Tour”

Speaking and Listening from the Heart

Tuggeranong Arts Centre
5 December 2019 to 18 January 2020
Schools Reconciliation Challenge 2019

In 2019 over 1500 students have explored the theme Speaking and Listening from the Heart. Students tapped into the need for First Nations Peoples voices to be heard and to understand that Speaking and Listening from the Heart offers everyone the ability to connect with Country, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders and with their own feelings about identity and being an Australian.

Barbie spoke with Thea Baker, Project Manger for Reconciliation NSW, and Alison Faure-Brac, Executive Director of the NSW Reconciliation Council
Continue Reading“Speaking and Listening from the Heart”

Canberra International Music Festival – Giving Voice

1 to 10 May 2020
Various venues, including the Fitters Workshop
Directed by Roland Peelman

The festival theme Giving Voice is expressed in the program’s focus on Indigenous stories, untold stories and a number of concerts for the human voice.

The inspiration of voices in nature is also apparent with The Whale and the Curlew and Birsdsong at Dusk for example.

Festival director Roland Peelman previews the festival
Continue Reading“Canberra International Music Festival – Giving Voice”

Maria Pfohl and Siva Nathan- A Peaceful World

Kyeema Gallery at Capital Wines Cellar Door
13 Gladstone Street Hall ACT
Until 2 February 2020
Open Thursday to Sunday 10.30am to 5pm

Hungarian born Australian artist Maria Pfohl works in watercolour, taking her inspiration from nature and telling stories with each work. She specialises in birds,  flowers and landscapes and her work speaks of her love of colour and natural beauty.

Barbie speaks with Maria Pfohl and Siva Nathan
Continue Reading“Maria Pfohl and Siva Nathan- A Peaceful World”

Four Seasons in one Gallery – Belconnen Community Gallery

Part of the Piece of Mind series
3 to 13 December 2019, Mondays to Fridays 9am to 5pm
Opening celebration Tuesday 3 December at 12 noon

A mixed media exhibition by participants of the BCS My Art program in celebration of International Day of People with a Disability

This exhibition celebrates the creativity and imagination of 22 artists as they explore the joys of the seasons in Canberra and beyond.

Open Information

Susannah Lawergren and Hannah Fraser – Christmas concert

Alessio Nelli  –  pianist
Ainslie All Saints Church
1.30pm, 8 December 2019

A delightful Christmas performance with  plenty of italian operatic arias as well as folk song arrangements, musical theatre and of course Christmas music. Susannah tells us that this is a fun, Christmas concert between friends. It’s full of delicious music.

Barbie speaks with Susannah Lawergren
Continue Reading“Susannah Lawergren and Hannah Fraser – Christmas concert”

Canberra Opera – An international Christmas

6 December 2019  7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
St. Philip’s Anglican Church, 24 Macpherson St, O’Connor

Canberra Opera’s final concert for the year featuring Canberra Opera soloists and friends as well as the Canberra Opera Christmas Chorus led by Veronica Thwaites-Brown.

Barbie speaks with Canberra Opera’s Stephanie McAlister

Bookings at

Tickets $35, $30 and $20

Irish-born actor wins inaugural Helen Tsongas Award for Excellence in Acting

At the 29th ACT Arts Awards evening, held in the Canberra Museum & Gallery on 19 November, the inaugural Helen Tsongas Award for Excellence in Acting was presented to Christopher Samuel Carroll by ACT Arts Minister, Gordon Ramsay.

Richard spoke to Christopher Carroll after the awards ceremony

Canberra composer and pianist Michael Dooley was named 2019 Canberra CityNews Artist of the Year for his prolific and diverse work, which in the past year included jazz and classical performances, recordings, film scores, a song cycle, a gospel oratorio, works for the Canberra Wind Symphony and his first piano concerto.

More information about the awards and the winners are available at

Photo credit: Alexander JE Bradley

National Folk Festival announces first youth ambassador

Young Canberra singer-songwriter, Lucy Sugerman has been announced as the first Youth Ambassador for the National Folk Festival.

The 18-year-old singer-songwriter has performed in the Canberra areas since she was nine. including busking and blackboard events. She was an Australian National Busking Champion in 2015 and 2016.

Richard talks to Lucy Sugarman about her role as the inaugural Youth Ambassador for the National Folk Festival

She sees the role as an opportunity to promote and contribute to the National Folk Festival’s celebration of folk life, including a special youth concert during the festival.

The festival’s new Managing Director, Helen Roben, began work in September. Raised in Wagga, Ms Roben has a background in the not-for-profit sector and has held senior management roles in corporate services and governance. She has taken over as Managing Director from Pam Merrigan, who continues as Artistic Director of the Festival.

Helen Roben, Managing Director of the National Folk Festival

ACT Writers – Writing and Publishing Award

Thursday 5 December 2019 6pm to 8.30pm
The Street Theatre

An invitation to join ACT Writers in celebrating excellence in local writing and publishing st the annual awards night, including the Anne Edgeworth Fellowship, the Marjorie Graber-McGInnis Short Story and the June Shenfield Poetry prize.

Bookings required. Tickets available through

Canberra Youth Orchestra with soloist Christian Li

Conducted by Rowan Harvey-Martin and Max McBride
Saturday 7 December 2019 at 7:30pm
Llewellyn Hall, ANU

Christian Li, currently 12 years of age, began learning violin at the age of five and studies under Dr. Robin Wilson, Head of Violin at Australian National Music Academy in Melbourne.

As well as winning the 2018 Yehudi Menuhin Violin Competition Junior First Prize, Christian won 1st Prize in the violin category of the Young Artist Semper Music International Competition in Italy in 2017 and was selected to perform at Carnegie Hall Isaac Stern Auditorium in NY in the American Protégé Showcase 10th anniversary concert.

Christian made his solo debut at the age of 9 with the Australian Orchestra.

In this concert, he will perform Bruch Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor

Tuggeranong Arts Centre – H2O the Musical

Written by children aged 6 to 13 with Nathalie and Tim Bevitt
Friday 29 November 2019 at 6.30pm
Tuggeranong Arts Centre

H2O the Musical is set in Space School 11 where the students have just discovered that all the bubblers are broken. In their mission to fix them, they discover a sinister plot by a group of evil cute kittens that could mean doom for earth and all its water.

Barbie talks to Nathalie and Tim Bevitt about H2O the Musical