Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram When a 12-year-old Christiana Aloneftis watched a fundraiser for opera singer Elena Xanthoudakis, she saw in the artist something she wanted to recreate. The way Elena was able to captivate through her performance, to deliver emotion and to move the audience had Christiana yearning to do the same.And now, as a young opera singer, Christiana needs all the help she possibly can in order to get to Italy and study her chosen path. An evening of Greek song and classical operatic repertoire has been organised, presented by the Greek Community of Melbourne and Victoria (GOCMV) in support of Christiana Aloneftis’ academic and musical study aspirations in Europe. Christiana’s first contact with music was as a seven-year-old when she joined a choir in Alphington as part of the GOCMV. Through the choir, she became more involved music, particularly Greek music, and even performed at the Antipodes festival. She told Neos Kosmos that as she became more comfortable with her voice, and with further singing lessons, she began to love music more and more. A trip to Italy as a 15-year-old student sealed her fate. “When I was 15 I went on a school trip to Italy organised for language students and we went to La Scala theatre in Milan. When I entered the theatre there was a dress rehearsal in progress and I realized in that moment how much I enjoyed performing and how much I wanted to do it in the future. When I came home from the trip I had so much clarity in what I wanted to do. I had the opportunity to study law but I chose to study music at VCA because that’s where my heart was.” And then there’s the added bonus of being able to sing in your cultural language and express your heritage through song. “Greek song is a very personal and intimate expression of my Greek Australian identity and I don’t believe that there is anything quite like it. The powerful language and sweet lyrical melodies tell stories of our people – stories of love, of tragedy, of war and separation and of the deepest and most passionate extremes of emotion. I am honoured to serve the music through the avenue of performance.” But she’s the first to admit that her chosen career path is not an easy one. “There’s a lot of challenges and your voice becomes part of your identity in the way you think about it all the time. You need to make sure it’s healthy and has the capacity to do what you want it to do and when you want it to do it.” Another challenge Christiana faces is funding her trip to Italy so she can attend master classes. GOCMV have gotten behind Christiana to organise an event to help her raise the funds. “Having someone believe in you and be a patron for you is just indespinsible,” she says about GOCMV. This is only the beginning of a very exciting and challenging journey into the world of opera for me but with the support from my home-base; from my cultural heritage, I am determined to walk the path ahead of me. Supporting artists performing on the day include: Charlotte Betts-Dean (Mezzo-Soprano), Robert Barbaro (Tenor), Konrad Olszewski (Concert Pianist) and Michael Mazziotta (Jazz and Improv Pianist).