Theme & Variations supporting the Ana and Vlade Divac Humanitarian Cocktail Evening Fundraiser in Brisbane 30 January 2014 at Fireworks Gallery, Newstead


Ana and Vlade Divac Humanitarian Cocktail Evening Fundraiser

THURSDAY 30 JANUARY 2014 at 6:30PM – 10:00PM

FireWorks Gallery

52a Doggett Street, Newstead

For more info contact


Restricted Tickets on sale now from Eventbrite, for $75 adult (includes booking fee)



Milijana Nikolić and Rosario La Spina will be performing arias from Carmen and Rigoletto, popular Italian canzone and selected works by Serbian composers alongside a Steinway grand piano from Theme & Variations Piano Services.


International basketball star Vlade Divac is back in Australia to raise money for his humanitarian projects as part of the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation.


For the first time his Cocktail Fundraiser will be held in Brisbane on Thursday 30th January at FireWorks Gallery, Newstead, in conjunction with Theme and Variations Piano Services and balkanbeatsbrisbane.


The fundraiser will enable better living conditions for the refugees and internally displaced people in Serbia.


‘Collective Centres’ were established 20 years ago as a safe alternative to a war zone but now in 2014 the living conditions are no longer considered acceptable and funds raised will provide housing for the remaining 143 (out of 515) families still in these centres.


It was Serbian-born, Australian-based, internationally renowned operatic mezzo soprano Milijana Nikolić, who was so moved by the organisations mission for improving lives of those still affected by the war, that she initiated the Brisbane fundraising event.


“I lived in Serbia at the time of the last war and understand the feeling of hopelessness and the struggle for survival,” she said.


“I also know what it means when you give someone a new chance that may forever change their life for the better and that’s why I wanted to support the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation”.


Milijana Nikolić and Italian-Australian tenor Rosario La Spina will be performing arias from the opera Carmen and Rigoletto, popular Italian canzone and selected works by Serbian composers at the cocktail evening.


Vlade Divac, former NBA player, is looking forward to coming to Brisbane.

“In the last two years I have met so many wonderful people in Australia, both from the Serbian Diaspora and people born in Australia,” he said.   “With your help we managed to provide homes for 505 families in Serbia. I am looking forward to meeting people in Brisbane and making more friends in Australia”.   Also attending is His Grace Bishop Irinej and other special guests.


On the night guests will enjoy a fabulous selection of drinks and Serbian food. There will also be a Silent Auction.



Vlade Divac is a retired Yugoslav and Serbian professional basketball player and current sports administrator.   Vlade spent most of his career in the NBA. At 7 ft 1 in, he played center and was known for his passing skills. He was among the first group of European basketball players to transfer to the NBA in the late 1980s and was named one of the 50 Greatest Euroleague Contributors.

Vlade is one of six players in NBA history to record 13,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists and 1,500 blocked shots, along with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett and Hakeem Olajuwon.

He was also the first player born and trained outside the United States to play in over 1,000 games in the NBA.   On August 20, 2010, Divac was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame in recognition of his play in international competition.

Aside from being noticed for his basketball abilities, Vlade is also known as a humanitarian, helping children in his native country of Serbia, and in Africa. On October 16, 2008, Divac was appointed a government adviser in Serbia for humanitarian issues. On February 24, 2009, he was elected President of the Serbian Olympic Committee for a 4-year term.

Vlade received a prestigious honor from the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame.


About Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation—Fondacija-Ana-i-Vlade-Divac/2/English.shtml


The vision of the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation is Serbia as a society in which citizens take responsibility and understand the power of unity in solving personal and social problems on a social, economic, educational and spiritual level.

The mission of the Ana and Vlade Divac Foundation is to contribute to the development of an equal, tolerant and unified Serbian society.

The Foundation is dedicated to the care and economic empowerment of refugees and displaced persons and to improving the status of children and youth by creating an environment that promotes healthy growth and development.

The Foundation seeks to foster community spirit and solidarity in the society through philanthropy, advocacy and volunteerism.


About Milijana Nikolić


Milijana Nikolić is an operatic mezzo soprano currently singing in major operas throughout the world. Some of these famous houses include Teatro alla Scala (Milan), Teatro dell’Opera, (Roma) and the Sydney Opera House.

Serbian-born Milijana holds a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Belgrade where she was under the tutelage of Radmila Smiljanić. Milijana’s operatic debut took place in the Belgrade National Theatre as Third Lady in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Tisbe in Rossini’s Cenerentola. In 2001, she won a two-year scholarship to attend the Academy for Soloists at Teatro alla Scala, Milan. During this time, she covered Olga Borodina as Dalila in Samson and Dalila; she also performed Una Grecha in Iphigenie En Aulide conducted by Maestro Riccardo Muti; shortly afterwards, Milijana made her La Scala principal role debut singing Cuniza in Verdi’s Oberto and later performed this at Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova. In October 2003, she sang Emma in Donizetti’s Ugo Conte di Parigi at Teatro Donizetti in Bergamo and then at La Scala. The following year, Milijana repeated the role for the Teatro Bellini of Catania. Other roles include: Maddalena in Verdi’s Rigoletto; the title role in Bizet’s Carmen and the role of the Marchesa di Berchenfild in Donizetti’s La Figlia di Reggimento. Milijana began her collaboration with Opera Australia in 2006, performing Jezibaba in Rusalka. Her association with Opera Australia continued when she performed the role of La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica, Azucena in Il Trovatore and Venus in Tannhäuser. Milijana’s concert appearances have included a Gala at La Scala Theatre and Rossini’s Petit Messe Solenelle in Sardinia; She has performed the Mozart Requiem, Handel’s Messiah and Verdi’s Requiem for The Queensland Orchestra and the latter with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. She also appeared as soloist with Auckland Philharmonia. Milijana is currently singing Amneris in Aida for Opera Australia and in 2010, future engagements include the title role in Carmen for the Savolinna Festival in Finland and the role of Mrs Dalton in Bliss for Opera Australia and Edinburgh Festival as well as Amneris for Opera Queensland.


About Rosario La Spina


Australian-born international tenor Rosario La Spina was trained at the young singers’ academy at La Scala, Milan. Since then, he has taken leading roles in the Italian and French repertoire around the world – Europe, North America, Asia and Australia/New Zealand. Rosario is also a major recording artist for Universal/ABC Classics.

Rosario trained at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music continuing his studies at RNCM, Manchester under the tutelage of Joseph Ward OBE.

Having gained first prize in the tenor competition held by L’Accademia di La Scala in 2000, Rosario embarked on the two-year Young Singers’ Course at La Scala, Milan, where he studied with Luciana Serra and Leyla Gencer. This culminated in his La Scala debut as the Messenger in Samson and Delilah, where he appeared with Placido Domingo and Olga Borodina.

In 2004, Rosario sang The Duke (Rigoletto) for New Zealand Opera, Cavaradossi (Tosca) under Richard Hickox at the Endellion Festival, Canio (Pagliacci) with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra, Taiwan and toured Spain in concert with the Parma Ensemble.

He made his Opera Australia debut as Cavaradossi in 2005 and has subsequently appeared as The Prince (Love for Three Oranges), Alfredo, Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly), The Prince (Rusalka), Calaf (Turandot), Rodolfo (La bohème) and the title role in The Tales of Hoffmann. Other recent operatic engagements have included Alfredo for West Australian Opera and, in 2007, his American debut as Rodolfo for Seattle Opera.

Rosario has also been a regular guest soloist with the Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras and appears on the CD/DVD Classical Spectacular with the MSO (ABC Classics). In the past couple of seasons, he has sung Pinkerton, The Duke, Don José (Carmen), Macduff (Macbeth) and Radames (Aida) in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, Hoffmann in Adelaide and Perth and Verdi’sRequiem in Brisbane and Adelaide; he returned to Seattle as Radames and made his Canadian debut Canadian Opera, Toronto in the same role

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