Carnevale Masquerade Gala Ball


August 5, 2022

6:00 pm

- 12:00 am






Cairns Convention Centre



Masked in mystery and draped in decadence

One of the most famous celebrations in the Italian event calendar is the Carnevale season. So, what would an Italian Festival be without a Masquerade Gala Ball inspired by the Venice Carnevale! A mysterious and magnificent evening celebrating Italian culture, cuisine, world-class entertainment, and the Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony celebrating the achievements of the pioneers of Italians that migrated to Australia who made a difference to the region. Masked in mystery and draped in decadence, join us for a magical evening to party in style!

Dress code: Masquerade.

Proudly Sponsored by

Prizes kindly sponsored by


  • 4 Courses including Antipasto, Primo Piatto, Secondo Piatto and Dolce (selection of sweets for your table to share) and Tea/Coffee
  • Live band, Siesta Cartel, to party the night away!
  • Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony
  • Lucky door prizes to be won
  • Live opera performances by 4 Opera Singers
  • Prizes for Best Dressed Female, Best Female Mask, Best Dressed Male and Best Male Mask


Carl Portella

Gala Ball MC
Carl Portella is the Managing Director of Express Media and Cairns Local News.

Immigrated from Italy in 1963 at the age of 4, was educated at St Thomas’s Mareeba and St Augustine’s College Cairns.

Carl worked in radio in Brisbane, Cairns and Mareeba for 15 years before working with News Corp for a further 14 years.

He then started his own local newspaper, The Express in 2010 and Cairns Local News in 2020.

He is the current Chairman of the Queensland Country press Association which looks after 53 printed publications and 31 online sites across Queensland.

Carl has amassed 42 years in the media industry.

Siesta Cartel

Siesta Cartel are a unifying musical movement led by a group of young Italians from Melbourne whose hearts beat to the music they play from a time long ago, where their beloved traditions was born. On a mission to unite all Italians in Australia with the music that helped raise them and they still love today.

“The sound of that music reminds me of my heritage. That sound today is Siesta Cartel”

Opera Singers

Alteouise deVaughn

Mezzo Soprano – Local Port Douglas resident

Mezzo-soprano Alteouise deVaughn has performed a wide variety of roles with opera companies in the United States and abroad, including New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, Virginia Opera, Chautauqua Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Lake George Opera Festival, Opera Omaha, Hawaii Opera Theater, Arkansas Opera Theater, Eugene Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Opera Orchestra of New York, and in Cagliari, Rio de Janeiro, and Trieste. Other career highlights include performing with the Atlanta Symphony in Michael Tippett’s A Child of Our Time and with Opera Theatre of St. Louis in Orfeo and Euridice, as well as appearing in New York City Opera’s nationally televised production of Carmen. DeVaughn is a winner of the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition, the George London Career Grant Silver Medal, New York City Opera’s Stanley Tausend Award, and the Leontyne Price Award from the National Negro Business Women’s Association.

Adrian Strooper

Local Cairns resident
Australian born tenor Adrian Strooper, has recently returned to Australia from Germany, where he was 10 years a resident soloist at the Komische Oper Berlin. His many roles included Il Conte Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Sivilgia, Lenski in Jewgeni Onegin, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni, Belmonte in Die Entführung aus dem Serail. He regularly performs Tamino in the world renowned production of Die Zauberflöte appearing at the Opera Comique, Paris, Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow and Liceu, Barcelona along with the 2019 Perth, Adelaide and Auckland festivals. In 2017 he was a guest at the Adelaide Festival in the role of Jonathan in Barrie Kosky’s Glynbourne production of Saul by Händel and debuted as Tom Rakewell, The Rakes Progress, in a concert performance at Warsaw Festival with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra.

Further roles in Adrian’s repertoire include, Ernesto in Don Pasquale, Ferrando in Cosi fan tutte, Lysander in Sommernachtstraum Britten, Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi, Jupiter in Semele by Händel, Brighella in Ariadne auf Naxos, Agenore in Il re Pastore by Mozart, Pylades in Händels’ Oreste and Der Junge Graf in Die Soldaten by Zimmerman.

Adrian has performed in a guest capacity at the Semperoper Dresden, Oper Leipzig, Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz, Theater Bremen, Toulon Opera, New Zealand Opera and Australian Opera. His concert repertoire includes the works of Haydn, Händel, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and arias in the St Matthews Passion and the arias and Evangelist in the Johannes Passion. Adrian has sung with the Concertgebouw Chamber Orchestra, Noord Nederlandse Orchestra, Latvijas Concerti in Riga and Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra.

In 2012 Adrian performed at the Innsbruck Festspiel Der Alte Musik, as Armidoro in La Stellidaura Vendicante by Provenzale with conductor Allesandro de Marchi, whereby a live recording was made and subsequently released by Deutsche Harmonia Mundi.

Between 2010 and 2012 Adrian performed Tamino in Peter Brooks critically acclaimed and award winning Une Flute Enchentée, subsequently embarking on a world tour where he performed at some of the largest music and arts festivals, including the Lincoln Centre Festival in New York, Les Nuits in Lyon, The Barbican in London, Piccolo Teatro Milan, Buenos Aires Festival, Sao Paolo Festival and The Music Festival Bremen.

In 2009 Adrian was a member of the Young Singers Project at the Salzburg Festspiele receiving master classes with Thomas Quasthof, Christa Ludwig and Michael Schade and studying the roles of Rinaldo in Armida by Haydn and Septimius in Theodora by Händel. He was subsequently invited to return in 2010 for the role of Benvolio in Gounods’ Romeo et Juliette with Yannick Nezet-Seguin. Adrian was engaged by the Festival D’aix en Provence in 2006 as Pastore/Spirito 1 in L’Orfeo conducted by Rene Jacobs.

Catherine Knight

Soprano – Local Cairns resident
A Cairns local born and bred Cathy has been singing for as long as she can remember. She started singing with the late local legend Sheila Knudson while at school. Over her many years of training with Sheila she obtained her Associate Diploma in Music Australia (Voice) from AMEB, and was Champion of Champions Soloist at the North Queensland Eisteddfod on 3 different occasions. While by day she is the Admin Manager for a local building subcontracting firm, she is also heavily involved with many local music performances including the Cairns Choral Society where she has performed roles such as Mabel in Pirates of Penzance and Viviane in Legally Blonde, with Douglas Theatre Arts Group as Sr Mary Amnesia in Nunsense and Maria in Sound of Music which she also reprised for Atherton Performing Arts. She has been a part of Opera Qld Community Chorus Projects Ruddigore and Project Rossini. Cathy is loving working with Alteousie whose has championed and encouraged local performers with her love of opera.

Frank Dangelico

Baritone – Local Cairns resident
Co-writer and co-lead actor in “La Bella Figura” performed at Jute Theatre in 2021 to a sellout season.

Chorus member of Opera Queensland Community Chorus for Project Rossini (2016), Project G&S (2018) & Project Puccini (2020)

Actor and singer in the 2016 production of Beginnings

Co Founder & MC at the annual “Viva Luciano” event in Cairns since 2016

Regular presenter of “Wine Time” segment of The Kitchen Sessions show with Roz Pappalardo

Lead singer/Guitarist/Songwriter of contemporary band “The Southside Project”

Founder/performer in “Sunday at Six” collaboration with Rick Beresford & Warren Clements

Regular MC at numerous themed & charity events at Piccolo Cucina

MC/ Wine Guy at “Chefs in Paradise” events at Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas, these events featured the likes of Manu Fieldel & Alastair McLeod

Panel member & contributor of “Playground Politics” on ABC Far North

Wine educator & hospitality trainer, partially responsible for many good things in Cairns hospitality

Business owner & operator of The Wine Tradition NQ in Cairns since 2007