Eight emerging opera virtuosos have won places in the unique Master of Music (Opera Performance) course, which is jointly delivered by Victorian Opera and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music at the University of Melbourne. Selected from a field of more than 70 applicants, the group includes some of the nation’s most promising operatic talent.
“These artists are the ‘cream of the crop’ in terms of developing performers,” said Richard Mills, Artistic Director of Victorian Opera. “And none can be pigeonholed into the misconceptions or stereotypes of what an opera singer is.”
The seven young singers and one repetiteur (opera pianist and rehearsal coach) will immerse themselves in the life of a professional opera company while undertaking comprehensive studies in language, diction, voice, musicianship and acting.
The Master of Music (Opera Performance) is the first and only developing artist program in Australia to be held in conjunction with a leading tertiary institution.
Director of the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Professor Gary McPherson, said the program offered a pioneering approach to opera training.
“The partnership with Victorian Opera means these developing artists will have a unique opportunity to become established members of a professional company,” Professor McPherson said. “They’ll be in a position to develop the skills, knowledge and competencies required to have long and successful international careers.”
The students who’ve been selected are: Kate Amos, 23, Soprano; Simon Bruckard, 23, Repetiteur; Nathan Lay, 26, Baritone; Elizabeth Lewis, 25, Mezzo-soprano; Emma Muir-Smith, 23, Mezzo-soprano; Michael Petruccelli, 25, Tenor; Cristina Russo, 25, Soprano; and Matthew Tng, 25, Baritone.
The group’s first challenge will be to take on some of the principal roles in Victorian Opera’s Hansel and Gretel, the company’s dedicated performance for families and school groups.
They will then continue to feature in ensembles throughout the year, providing the rare opportunity to work alongside some of Australian opera’s biggest names, including Lisa Gasteen, José Carbo and Jessica Pratt. The Master of Music (Opera Performance) is made possible by the support of the State Government through Arts Victoria.
Image: courtesy of Victorian Opera