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Orchestral Pops with the Lake Macquarie Philharmonic


Strauss, Tchaikovsky, Erin Coates, Offenbach and Sibelius will be among the enchanted sounds to fill Speers Point later this month when the Lake Macquarie Philharmonic performs its Orchestral Pops concert. 

The multi-talented group will bring a musical feast to the Multi-Arts Pavilion, mima (MAP mima) from 4pm on Sunday 28 April, under the baton of the esteemed Christopher Bearman OAM, and featuring the vocal talents of soprano Ashlee Woodgate and tenor Sam Elmi. 

Classics by Johann Strauss and Tchaikovsky will sit comfortably alongside captivating arias from operas like Carmen and La Traviata.  

Audiences will be transported through a delightful array of cherished compositions, including Strauss’s waltzes, Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty, Erin Coates’s contemporary pieces, Offenbach’s melodies and Sibelius’s Finlandia, as the sun prepares to set over the shores of Lake Macquarie. 

Presented by MAP mima, this outdoor event within Speers Point Park, will appeal to music lovers of all ages. 

“Cultural and creative events contribute so much to our city, not just in terms of activating our economy but by engaging the community through music and performance,” says Lake Macquarie City mayor Kay Fraser. 

“I’ve seen first-hand the enjoyment people derive from Lake Mac Philharmonic shows, and I’m sure it will be just the same with this year’s line-up.” 

Ashlee Woodgate

Ashlee Woodgate

Celebrated for her captivating performances and effortless theatrical ability, Ashlee Woodgate has garnered acclaim for her diverse repertoire and exceptional vocal prowess.

Her illustrious career is marked by numerous standout performances, including her debut as Mimi in La Bohème with Opera Hunter in June 2023, following her highly anticipated portrayal of Violetta Valery in La Traviata in 2022. 

Woodgate’s talent has taken her to prestigious stages around the world, including her engagement as First Lady in Die Zauberflöte, where she made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Manhattan Opera Studio in NYC in 2018.

She also graced the stage of the National Opera Center during her time in New York. 

A highly accomplished soprano, Woodgate’s training at The Sydney Conservatorium Opera School and Newcastle Conservatorium has shaped her into a versatile and dynamic performer.

Her repertoire spans from Despina in Cosi fan tutte to Dido in Dido and Aeneas, captivating audiences with her remarkable vocal range and emotive performances. 

Sam Elmi

Sam Elmi

Sam Elmi is an accomplished soloist with an illustrious international career. 

Sam’s musical journey is rich with prestigious performances and accolades.

Notably, he fondly recalls gracing the international stage as Anichino in Beatrice di Tenda with the esteemed London Philharmonic Orchestra during the celebrated London Bel Canto festival.

In 2020, Sam’s resounding tenor voice resonated with audiences as the soloist for Fauré’s Requiem in D minor with DocsVox – NSW Doctors Choir.  

Within the local Australian opera scene, he has been a valued member of Opera Hunter, assuming diverse roles as a concert soloist, principal, and chorus member.

His portrayal of Alfredo in La Traviata in 2022 and Fredric in Pirates of Penzance in 2019 received high praise.

Sam eagerly anticipates his upcoming performance as Don Jose in Opera Hunter’s Carmen production in July 2024. 

His talent has not gone unnoticed on the competition circuit.

In 2021, he clinched the first prize in Taree Eisteddfod’s Vocal Championship and secured a spot as a semi-finalist in Sydney Eisteddfod’s esteemed Opera Scholarship.

Notably, Sam’s captivating performances have earned him the title of crowd favourite at the Sydney Eisteddfod in 2020. 

Tickets for Orchestral Pops with Lake Macquarie Philharmonic can be purchased online at

**Special offer for Newcastle Weekly readers; buy four tickets in one transaction and each ticket holder receives one complimentary wine or soft drink on arrival**

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