Whilst many of us are breathless from weeks of watching the Rugby World Cup and are preparing for a summer of long cricket tests, there is a final looming in a contest that has outlasted even these.
Singing competitions are rarely completed in short time spans. For five singers, several months of intense preparation will culminate in the of the IFAC Australian Singing Competition.
It is a long time to simmer and to peak at just the right time, but for singers this is par for the course.
Five finalists, Naomi Johns, Emma Moore, Morgan Pearse (all from NSW), Gerard Schneider (WA) and Bryony Williams will compete, performing with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Northey (currently conducting Don Giovanni), on the stage of the opera theatre. Lyndon Terracini will host the evening.
The ASC incorporates the Mathy Award, first awarded to Rachelle Durkin in 2000. Durkin has been singing the role of Donna Anna in Opera Australia’s Sydney production of Don Giovanni and has a busy international career, having appeared at The Met in New York since 2002 where she will soon reprise her role as Miss Schlessen in John Adam’s Satyagraha.Other winners include Paul Whelan (bass-baritone), Stuart Skelton (tenor), and Amelia Farrugia (soprano).
In addition to the Mathy Award are a raft of other awards including opportunities to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, the Mozart Institute in Salzburg, as well as Master Classes, and CDs and the chance to sing with professional ensembles.
To make it to the final, the contestants will have had to satisfy the adjudicators with their ability to perform a comprehensive range of styles from Baroque music to Art Song, international opera to works for voice and orchestra. Three languages must be represented and the candidates must also demonstrate ‘the right stuff’ in regard to personality, potential and a study plan.
Heading the national panel of adjudicators is mezzo-soprano Bernadette Cullen, from whom the finalists have received a coaching session. Soprano Zara Barrett, who won the 2010 Opera Award will be Guest Artist.
Tickets at www.sydneyoperahouse.com