IF there were ever a candidate emerging from the Canberra arts scene for the title of “Top Cat” it’d have to be the celebrated coloratura soprano Lorina Gore.
She’s something of a favourite of “CityNews”, someone who has featured many times in these pages – when she won the Joan Sutherland Opera Scholarship, when she headed up Opera Australia’s concert on Bondi Beach, when she played Honey Barbara in Brett Dean’s operatic version of “Bliss” and when she scored the role of the tragic Violetta in Verdi’s “La Traviata” in NZ last year.
Now, with a scintillating performance as the star of “Opera in the Domain” last month behind her and her ascent to play Violetta in OA’s 2015 winter season, the petite diva has hit her straps.
Why then has the sought-after Gore agreed to tread the boards of Llewellyn Hall at the coming Canberra Area Theatre (CAT) gala awards night on February 21 singing numbers from “The Phantom of the Opera”?
It’s simple. She’s a Canberra girl made good and not about to forget it. Unlike many home-grown stars who leave the ACT to further their careers and immediately suppress all connection to the national capital on their CVs, Gore has never forgotten her origins – her time with Stephen Pike performing in the popular show at Tarzan’s Theatre Restaurant in Kippax, her vocal training at the ANU School of Music and her win in the National Aria at Llewellyn Hall that enabled her to study in London.
It was in Canberra that Gore met her future husband, Jonathan, the choral singer who didn’t want to become a professional and who has provided her and their now six-year-old son Joshua with a stable, loving environment in which her career could flourish. I am fond of relating how she told me shortly before her marriage: “There’s only room for one diva in this household”.
Her in-laws are well known figures in Canberra’s cultural community and she is a frequent visitor to town from their home in Kangaroo Valley, from which she conducts a busy career.
In recent months Gore has performed with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra concert in Hobart, in a Christmas concert in Paddington to raise money for the Joan Sutherland & Richard Bonynge Bel Canto Award and Foundation and since New Years’ Eve as Musetta in “La Boheme” at the Sydney Opera House.
So what’s her connection with the CATs? Again, it’s simple; in 1995, the first year of the awards, she was named Best Actress in a Musical for playing Sarah in “Guys and Dolls” at Daramalan College, winning her award over all the adult nominees.
Now 20 years later, she’ll be a very special guest “Top Cat”.
The 20th CAT Gala Awards Night, Llewellyn Hall, February 21, bookings to ticketek.com.au
Opera Australia’s “La Traviata”, Sydney Opera House, July 3-22, bookings to opera.org.au