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Wolanski Foundation support for Sydney Opera House


The Wolanski Foundation has renewed its relationship with the Sydney Opera House Trust by providing funds to support activities relating to the history of the House, including maintenance of the Dennis Wolanski Archive of the Sydney Opera House, provision of access to related material and the Opera House digital strategy. For further details see the Sydney Opera House website. The following images and links highlight major groups of material retained by the Sydney Opera House or transferred as distributed collections from the Dennis Wolanski Library to other repositories. 


Dennis Wolanski OAM, 1917-1992

Photograph by Gary Ede, 1986. Dennis Wolanski emerged from the devastating experience of the Warsaw Ghetto in World War II to achieve business success in Australia. His business success created room for him to pursue artistic endeavours as a sculptor and contributor to the Sculptors’ Society during its formative years. Philanthropic interests were channelled into a number of causes, notably the Dennis Wolanski Library and Archives of the Performing Arts, which provided services at the Sydney Opera House between 1973 and 1997. More details soon.

Sydney Opera House records and archives

Photograph by Fairfax of the Opera Australia cast in Prokofiev’s War and Peace, the first public performance in the Opera Theatre, 28 September 1973. The photograph was purchased for The Building of the Century Exhibition in 1988 and retained by the Trust following the closure of Dennis Wolanski Library in 1997. Other material relating to the War and Peace production and the history of the Sydney Opera House in general were transferred to other organisations. More details soon.
Dame Nellie Melba, 1861-1931

Photograph circa 1916 by Dover Street Studios London of Melba as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. The large framed photograph is one of a number of collections and items relating to the Australia singer that were transferred from the Dennis Wolanski Library to the Victorian Arts Centre's Performing Arts Collection and other organisations. Melba’s tours of Australia during the first three decades of the 20th century under the auspices of JC Williamson laid the ground for a permanent national opera company in Australia and the building of the Sydney Opera House. More details soon,
Sir Eugene Goossens, 1893-1962

Photograph of Eugene Goossens (right) driving a train in the United States, part of a collection of material donated to the Dennis Wolanski Library by Goossens' daughter Sidonnie and retained by the Sydney Opera House Trust following the closure of the Library in 1997. Goossens galvanised support for the building of a performing arts centre in Sydney after World War II. More details soon.
Annette Kellerman 1887-1975

Still photograph from footage taken by Jimmy Sullivan of Annette Kellerman performing an underwater ballet, part of the Kellerman collection transferred from the Dennis Wolanski Library in 1997 to the State Library of NSW (paper documentation) and the Powerhouse Museum (costumes and other artefacts). Before Kellerman gained an international reputation as a long distance swimmer, vaudeville entertainer and film star, she learned to swim in Cavill’s floating baths at Farm Cove, near the Sydney Opera House. The Kellerman collection was initially displayed in Splish Splash, an exhibition coordinated by Barbara Firth and designed by Bill Passmore at the Opera House in 1977. Barbara Firth later assisted Emily Gibson to write the biography of Kellerman, The Original Million Dollar Mermaid, published in 2005. More details soon.
Dame Joan Sutherland 1926-2010

Photograph of Joan Sutherland as Lucia in the Sutherland Williamson International Grand Opera Company production of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor in 1965. The photograph, from the International Exhibition of Photography’s Photography in the Performing Arts collection, is one of several hundred images displayed in the Sydney Opera House Exhibition Hall from 27 October to 4 November 1973. They are now housed in the the Seaborn Broughton and Walford Archives and Performing Arts Collection. Joan Sutherland returned to Australia in 1974 and was a prized member of Opera Australia until her retirement in 1990. More details soon.

Further information on items retained by the Sydney Opera House or transferred to other organisations.



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Page last updated: 31 October 2011