On 23 June several members and friends attended Opera Queensland’s performance of Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow at QPAC. There are many images from the opera to give you a taste of the performance at Opera Queensland (https://operaq.com.au/whats-on/the-merry-widow/).
The opera tells the story of a young widow who, on the death of her husband, inherits his fortune. She travels from her homeland to Paris where she is pursued by Parisian eligible bachelors who are seeking a wealthy wife. In order to keep the money in her own country, she is expected to marry a local not a Parisian.
Hanna, the Widow, is hoping to marry her ex-lover Danilo who was her childhood sweetheart. She finds he has chosen a life of champagne and the company of the ladies of the Paris nightclub scene to cope with the loss of her love when she married.
It is here we see the beautiful clothing of the Parisian Art Deco period of the 1920s with stunning and elegant gowns and sets.
Although Hanna pursues Danilo, he is not easily persuaded by her love and doesn’t want her money. She then becomes engaged to another in an effort to make him jealous. Around them a typical farce ensues with wrongful assumptions of who is romantically involved with whom, cheating wives and jealous husbands.
In the final scene Hanna reveals that she will lose her fortune if she remarries. Without money as a barrier to marrying her, Danilo can now admit his love; it is only then that he’s told that the reason Hanna will lose all her money on remarriage is because it will become her husband’s. Despite this they can now live happily ever after.
David Hobson was excellent in the role of Danilo and, apart from the height discrepancy with his co-star Natalie Christie Peluso who played Hanna, they were an excellent pairing. They were ably supported by the rest of the cast.
The Merry Widow was only in Brisbane for a short season and we were all pleased that we were able to attend.
We are so lucky to have some excellent local restaurants. Our May dinner group outing was to the Graceville Greek Cuzina. In this restaurant they serve some amazing lamb dishes, among many others. What a lovely evening we had with good food, good wine and good company.
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Our group thoroughly enjoyed their outing to The Pearlfishers. What wonderful singing from Emma Matthews, tenor Aldo Di Toro, baritone Grant Doyle and bass Andrew Collis. Thanks so much to Bizet and the Queensland Opera. How could anyone not be moved by that beautiful duet In the depths of the temple and the other wonderful songs.
Our Guest Speaker for May 2017 was Jacquie Kennedy, whose early career was in television in Australia and then 10 years in Los Angeles. Through her young son’s love of animals, she shared his passion, and on returning to Australia she joined Animal Welfare League, Queensland (AWLQ).
Jacquie spoke with warmth and passion about the work of the League. It was founded after 1959 when the local government practice of routinely putting down stray animals was stopped.
The League was formed to take in stray animals. While based mainly on the Gold Coast, it does have centres in Brisbane including acreage at Beenleigh (for all kinds of animals) and at Willawong. When given a stray animal they (i) try to reunite it with its owner; (ii) if not possible, bring it to optimum health, microchip, then (iii) find a new owner. There is no time or age limit in housing an animal.
Since foundation the League has found homes for over 130,000 animals. On any day they would have 1000 animals in their care. Jacquie was instrumental in developing a unique program called Golden Hearts Seniors Pet Support Program. A world first, it ensures pets of Senior Citizens are looked after in emergency situations. It is free to join. Whereas other Welfare Agencies charge large sums to care for an animal left in their care by a will, AWLQ does it for free.
Our May 2017 excursion For the Love of Gardens group was to the gardens and Herbarium (scientific collection of dried plants) at the Brisbane Botanical Gardens at Mt Coot-tha. Dorothy Eyears, the leader of our group, did a great job in arranging this really interesting visit where we met the people responsible for identifying plants for the community. Most of the Herbarium that we were privileged to see is not normally open to the public (they have on occasions opened to the public during Open House week.) Up in the main library of samples (850,000 of them), all catalogued in their species, we were privileged to see plants that had been catalogued by Sir Joseph Banks when on the Endeavour in the time of Captain Cook. That’s something that was 240 year old and the quality was quite amazing.
Professor Roly Sussex of the Institute of Teaching and Learning Innovation at The University of Queensland was our guest speaker at our April meeting. His topic was “Australian English and where it is going”. Roly is well known through his weekly broadcast on the ABC and his column in the Courier Mail Weekend Magazine.
He is an entertaining speaker and throughout his talk he gave examples of Australian English, which has increasingly become more acceptable. An early written example was the Sentimental Bloke by C.J. Dennis published in 1915. He was able to drop into a wide range of accents and colloquialisms to demonstrate his points and show the many regional differences.
What are the common features? A preference for using first names instead of titles and surnames; use of Americanisms in some spellings and words; and especially the use of diminutives, such as Rocky for Rockhampton, Bundy for Bundaberg. Other well-known diminutives, which don’t need explanation, are cab sav and barbie (not the doll). I find though that we tend to lengthen short words and shorten long ones! Apparently women are more responsible than men for changes in the way we speak, such as the high rise tone at the end of sentences.
Neil Page thanked Roly for his interesting talk and presented him with a “Certificate of Appreciation” and a Probus Pen.
Combined Probus Club of Sherwood, Brisbane
aka Sherwood Probus Club
Fun, friendship and fellowship are at the heart of club activities. Together with shared outings and trips, our special interest groups build friendships between like-minded retired and semi-retired people. Our special interest groups include:
- Scrabble and
- meals with friends.
For more information contact Secretary Pat (email@example.com)