We recently asked Greg Khoury to answer five facts for FAB. In this article our Chairman shares his personal passion for ballet and tells us how he is staying connected to the most robust, daring and enterprising high art form on the Australian stage.
What is your name and role at FAB?
Greg Khoury, Chairman, Friends of the Australian Ballet (FAB)
How long have you been involved with FAB?
Since 1993, when working with then NSW State Manager for the Ballet, Sue Davidson.
What is your earliest ballet memory?
Attending a performance of Sir Robert Helpmann’s The Display with Kathleen Gorham in the mid 1960’s at the old Her Majesty’s Theatre in Sydney. My Mother took me but I was really too young to appreciate it. The first ballet performance to have a real effect on me was later in early 1970’s at the Capitol Theatre where we were taken from school to see the film of Swan Lake. It was on the enormous screen of the cavernous Capitol. Watching this from the Dress Circle of the then vast decrepitude of the Capitol was quite astounding and the sound was brilliant. The Theatre still had its Greater Union installed cinema sound system from when they leased it, even though it had tuned “live” and Harry M Miller was presenting Jesus Christ Superstar at night.
Why is FAB important to you?
Ballet in Australia has always been the most robust, daring and enterprising high art form on the Australian stage. It has also generated from day one an eclectic, dedicated, all ages, all demographics family of balletomanes who revel in their love of this very fleeting art form with its dancers and stars. I have always loved being part of that circle and contributing to it – whether via The Friends or when I worked directly with the Sydney office on its major events or presenting ballets in the line of my work with Century, as we did when we presented Maina Gielgud on stage or the English National Ballet in Sydney. It’s all part of the one continuum of involvement with the Ballet world in Australia.
What are you doing to stay connected to ballet & dance at this time?
As I work on screen so much, I am not one for watching more on screen. For me listening to Ballet music brings back memories of some of the great ballet performances that I have seen – those that have had special meaning for me: my first visit to Paris and seeing Nureyev’s Sleeping Beauty at the Palais Garnier on a wet Saturday afternoon. I’ll never forget it when that 60+ orchestra struck up that thunderous overture and when the curtain went up on that immense stage that looked incredible with the giant set of Beauty; many of The Australian Ballet’s magical seasons that I have been so fortunate to see over the years; the Paris Opera Ballet’s Galas in Sydney and Brisbane are highlights too.
My time working closely with Vicki Jones and the organising committee for David McAllister’s farewell keeps me connected to that wonderful group of supporters and keeps me active in the Ballet world along with my ongoing involvement with FAB.
Header image: David McAllister, Lady Mary Fairfax and Greg Khoury at a Friends event at Fairwater in 2009