Twelve elite singers have reached the finals of the 2012 ACCLAIM ITALIAN OPERA FELLOWSHIPS.
The Board and Judging Panel of the Acclaim Awards are proud to announce the finalists for the 2012 Acclaim Italian Opera Fellowships to be held on the 8th December at the Iwaki Auditorium at 7.30 pm. The competition drew an enormous response from the elite ranks of Australia’s next generation of opera artists.
The twelve singers include nine sopranos: Lee Abrahmsen, Christina Aloneftis, Kate Amos, Emily Burke, Anna-Louise Cole, Teresa Duddy, Holly Joseph, Stephanie Gooch Christina Russo; mezzo soprano Rhiannon Stevens, Baritone, Nathan Lay and Tenor Robert Barbaro.
‘The finalists have set an impressive benchmark. Each singer comes to the competition with considerable stage experience and competition accolades.
This is a true reflection of the significance and prestige of the Acclaim Italian Opera Fellowships,’ said Ian Slater, AM, Chair, Acclaim Board.
The judging panel includes Italian opera singer Valeria Esposito (Italy), and Italian Artistic Director Gianni Tangucci.
Here are the 12 fine singers who have reached the finals of the competition:
Lee graduated from The University of Melbourne with honours in Music Performance. She has been awarded scholarships to study and perform in Holland and Italy.In October 2010, Lee was the winner of the 86th Annual Herald Sun Aria. In 2012 she was nominated for a Green Room Award for her performance as Valencienne in Lehar’s Merry Widow.
Lee has performed in over 16 principal roles in Australia and abroad including; Violetta inLa Traviata, Marguerite in Faust, Mimi inLa Bohème, CioCioSan in Madama Butterfly, Micaëla in Carmen, Valencienne in The Merry Widow, Zerlina in Don Giovanni, Adele in Die Fledermaus. She has appeared as Concert Soloist with Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Victoria and Consort of Melbourne.
In 2012 Lee was the recipient of the Opera Awards Royal Overseas League Music Bursary (Australian singing competition) and the Melbourne Welsh Choir Singer of the Year Competition.
Greek-Australian soprano Christiana Aloneftis is currently studying her third year of her BMus (Specialisation: Perf. Study – Classical Voice) and Dip Language (Advanced Italian) at the Faculty of Music and VCA at the University of Melbourne.
She has studied Bel-Canto (under the tutelage of renowned counter-tenor, Nicola Marchesini and Dr. Monica Benvenuti) and Italian Language abroad in Italy where she was awarded the Lin Martin Global Mobility Scholarship for programme excellence.
Christiana is part of the Opera Scholars of Australia Programme (Aus. Music Events) and performed as a soloist in the Opera Scholar of the year selections in October 2012. She has appeared in Victorian Youth Opera’s production of The Play of Daniel (April 2012) and will appear in Lyric Opera’s production of Gluck’s Iphigenie en Tauride later this year.
In early October 2012, Christiana performed the debut role of Lucia Bertazzon for Melbourne Fringe Festival’s new music production of: ‘1938 – An Opera’.
Kate completed her Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the University of Melbourne in 2011 with a Diploma in Languages (Italian), and is currently completing Honours in Voice.
Kate’s performing credits include productions with Victorian Opera in Noye’s Fludde and The Snowqueen, with Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Victoria in The Pirates of Penzance and The Yeomen of the Guard, Johanna in Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd for Melbourne University and most recently Catherine in Offenbach’s The Red Apple for Lyric Opera of Melbourne.
Kate was chosen as the joint 2011-2012 Opera Scholar of the Year, singing solos at Opera in the Alps and Opera in the Market.
Kate is the recipient of numerous awards including the Mabel Kent Scholarship, EC Wellisch Bequest Scholarship and Athenaeum Competition from Melbourne University. She also won the Eisteddfod By the Bay Aria competition in 2011.
Robert obtained bachelor degrees in Arts and Law at Monash University in 2010. During this time, Robert commenced studying classical voice.
He has performed Schumann’sDichterliebeand the roles of Ewart in Willson’s The Music Man; Uldino in Verdi’s Attila; Raoul de St Brioche in Lehar’s The Merry Widow; Percinet in Hart’s The Fantasticks; Mario Lanza in the national tour of Mario Lanza – The Loveliest Night of the Year; and Marco in Sullivan’s The Gondoliers. He has also performed in the chorus for various opera companies in Victoria and is now a casual chorus member of Opera Australia.
He has recorded original songs for More Than Opera and performs throughout Australia in festivals, concerts and events.
He has won various sections for singing competitions throughout Australia including the Diamond Valley Aria and South Eastern Arts Festival Aria; been a finalist in the Warrnambool Aria (2011/2012), Liederfest (2010); and Semi Finalist in the German Australia Opera Grant (2010) and the SunAria (2011/2012).
Emily studied Music at the Victorian College of the Arts before travelling to Italy to study Italian language. Mirella Freni personally selected Emily to study with her at her school in Vignola, Italy.
In 2006 she performed the role of Gilda in Rigoletto for Opera Australia at the Sydney Opera House. Emily was a member of Opera Queensland’s Young Artist Program in 2008 and 2009. Her engagements with the company included performing the role of Dame Nellie Melba in Waltzing Our Matilda.
As the winner of the Puccini Foundation Award, Emily travelled to Italy in 2009 to perform. In 2010 she performed the roles of Giannetta in The Elixir of Love and Anna inNabucco (in Tokyo). In 2011 she performed the role of Despina in Così fan tutte and toured regional Victoria in the Victorian Opera’s Opera Gala.
For the 2012/13 seasons, Emily’s engagements include The Lady in Waiting in Macbeth, Pitti-Sing in The Mikado, Frasquita in Carmen, Clorinda in Cinderella and understudying Desdemona in Othello, all for Opera Queensland.
Anna-Louise holds a BMus with Honours in Music Performance (Voice) and a BA with Honours in German from the University of Melbourne.
Anna-Louise made her debut with Melbourne Opera as Zerlina in Don Giovanni in 2006, and has subsequently appeared as a chorus member and soloist with companies including Opera Australia, Victorian Opera, Melbourne Opera, Melbourne Lyric Opera, the AIMS Festival Orchestra in Graz, Austria and the Kronos Quartet in the 2011 Melbourne Festival.
She has won prizes and been a finalist in a number of national and international singing competitions. The winner of the American Institute of Musical Studies Award and the Sundell Study Award from Opera Foundation Australia, Anna-Louise has also sung as a finalist in the Audi German Opera Scholarship, the Herald Sun Aria Competition, the Australian Youth Aria Competition and the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna. Anna-Louise has also been supported by the Opus 50 Foundation.
Teresa completed her Masters in Performance at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, USA, in 2011, and her Bachelor of Music at the University of Melbourne in 2009.
Her performances include Barbara in The Conspirators (2009): Lolette in La Rondine (2012): L’Enfant in L’Enfant et les Sortileges (2010): Rita in Rita (2011): Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro (2011) with the Lyric Opera Studio of Weimar (Germany), and Clorinda in La Cenerentola (2011) with Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Following her return to Australia in 2012, Teresa has performed: Cindy and Wendy inContact! as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival; Kate Pinkerton in the Academy of Ancient Idols’ Madama Butterfly; Rose (understudy) inWhat Next? with Victorian Opera; and Cathy in Little Deaths also with Victorian Opera.
Teresa was the 2012 winner of the Warrnambool Eisteddfod Aria Competition, and a grant recipient from the Tait Memorial Trust, Opus 50, and the Opera and Arts Support Group.
Stephanie graduated from the University of Western Australia, completing a double bachelor in English and Music, and a Diploma of Education in English and Special Education. In 2008 she graduated from the Australian Opera Studio with Honours. Since then, Stephanie has performed throughout Australia, Germany and Japan.
After winning the More Than Opera German-Australian Opera Grant, Stephanie made her European debut at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, were she was an ensemble member for the 2010/2011 season. This year, Stephanie performed the role of Contessa Almaviva in Weimar and was a participant in the Montserrat Caballé Masterclasses, Zaragoza.
She also performed the roles of Fiordiligi inCosi fan tutte, Nachbarin im Osten in Lolita, Papagena in Die Zauberflöte, Berta in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Drusilla inL’Incoronazione di Poppea, Annina in La Traviata and Laura in Luisa Miller.
Holly Joseph completed a Master of Music Performance degree at the (VCA) University of Melbourne in 2011 Holly performing the challenging solo work Knoxville:Summer of 1915 by Samuel Barber for her Masters recital.
In 2009, Holly completed a Bachelor of Music with honours, at the University of Queensland. Holly has placed in many vocal competitions and performs regularly for galas and functions throughout Australia.
She has performed for Brisbane’s Opera Worx (2006), lived in London performing with Opera Integra (2007), and held a choral scholarship at All Saints Anglican Church (2009). Also of note was Holly’s portrayal of Jenny in the 2012 Opera Studio Melbourne production of Ned Rorem’s Three Sisters Who Are Not Sisters.
Holly is currently a member of The Opera Studio Melbourne and the director of A Minor Note; a company that provides classically trained singers for functions.
Nathan completed his Bachelor of Music at the Melba Conservatorium of Music in 2008. During his time there, he was awarded the ‘Melba Conservatorium Scholarship’ and twice awarded the ‘Robert Salzer Scholarship’ for showing operatic potential. In 2010, Nathan was named the Australian Music Events ‘Opera Scholar of the Year’ and was the winner of the National Liederfest. He was also a semi-finalist in the 2010 and 2011 Herald Sun Aria. In 2011, Nathan was one of the scholarship recipients of the Dame Nellie Melba Opera Trust.
This year, Nathan was the winner of the Eisteddfod By the Bay Aria, semi-finalist in the 2012 Sydney McDonald Aria, and was Runner-Up and winner of the People’s Choice Award at the 2012 Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Aria competition.
In 2012, Nathan made his debut with Melbourne Opera playing the role of Schaunard in Puccini’s La Bohème, followed by Guglielmo in their new production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte.
Italo-Australian soprano Cristina Russo completed her Bachelor of Music (Performance) with Honours at the University of Melbourne in 2011. She also completed a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Italian and English Literature in 2012 and is fluent in Italian.
Her operatic and concert repertoire include Junon in Charpentier’s Actéon (2008),
Valencienne in Lehár’s The Merry Widow (2008), Gianetta in Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Gondoliers (2012), Phyllis in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe (2012) and the soprano solos from Bach’s St Matthew Passion, Handel’s Messiah and Mendelssohn’s St Paul.
She has featured on 3MBS radio and ABC Classic FM, notably performing the works of Australian composers Alan Tregaskis and Percy Grainger.
Winner of the Armstead Singing Award (Musical Society of Victoria) and finalist in the 3MBS Performer of the Year, Cristina has a great love of the bel canto repertoire and hopes to further develop her craft with further study in her second home, Italy.
Rhiannon started her music career at an early age, by learning the Piano, Violin and Viola. She took part in many of the schools choir’s, orchestra’s and school productions, throughout her education until university where she took a break from music, to study Archaeology at LaTrobe University.
After finishing her degree, Rhiannon took up singing and learnt privately for a number of years, successfully achieving a credit on her 8th Grade AMEB certificate. At the same time she joined Savoy Opera Company where she performed minor roles such as Celia in Iolanthe and Fiametta in The Gondoliers.
In 2010 she was accepted into The Opera Studio Melbourne were she has performed roles such as Cupid in Orpheus in the Underworld, Olga in Eugene Onegin, Helen in Rorem’s Three Sisters who are not sisters and The Boy in Philip Glass’ Juniper Tree. She was awarded the Hon. John Harber Phillips Fellowship – Acclaim for a returning singer to the Studio and is currently enjoying her time with the Studio.
Dates and Bookings
Saturday 8 December @ 7.30pm, Iwaki Auditorium ABC Southbank Centre
Adults $25.00 Concession $20
Italian Masterclass Concert
Thursday 13 December @ 7.30pm, Melbourne Recital Centre, 31 Sturt Street
Adults $30 Concession $20
Bookings can be made for by ringing 03 9699 3333 or visit:
For further information on the ACCLAIM AWARDS go to: