AWARD STARTERS: Founding members of the Noosa Arts Federation Hilary Roots, Albert Thoma and Meg Lawrence.
AWARD STARTERS: Founding members of the Noosa Arts Federation Hilary Roots, Albert Thoma and Meg Lawrence. Contributed

Sadly curtain falls on the wonderful NFA

REGIONAL Australia's richest opera award, the Dame Joan Sutherland Vocal Competition Award has taken its final breath.

For nearly three decades, the finals of the prestigious national opera award were held in Noosa annually (and later biannually), proudly hosted by its patron Noosa Federation of the Arts (NFA).

Since 1999, the DJSA has helped 13 past winners, plus numerous other young Australian singers aged 20-34, to reach dizzying heights performing with illustrious opera houses nationally and abroad.

Past winners who have achieved international fame include Mirusia Louwerse, who sang under contract to Andrei Rieu, and Kang Wang, who is under contract to the New York Metropolitan Opera. Guy Booth, Virgilio Marino and Shaun Brown currently have major roles with Opera Queensland.

Founding chairman of NFA, Meg Lawrence, said it was with deep regret that the federation had to shut down in April due to a continuing lack of funding and a paucity of interest by a younger generation.

The NFA was founded in 1989 to promote the arts and was based on four pillars: music, art, dance and avant garde.

It became a cultural force to be reckoned with when Professor Anthony Camden, the then provost and director of the Queensland Conservatorium, became NFA's artistic advisor.

"As a champion of the arts, we really were unique in Australia,” Meg said.

"We were a museum, art gallery, film club, dance organisation, music, theatre and more, all rolled into one.”

Meg said she would like to express her heartfelt thanks to the Coast community.

"The most important people in the world are an audience, because without them there is no point in staging a performance,” she said.


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