New Zealand tenor Jonathan Abernethy is the Opera Awards winner for 2014, as announced by Roland Gridiger, CEO of Music & Opera Singers Trust Ltd. Jonathan was selected by an eminent judging panel that included Dr Di Bresciani, Conal Coad, Rachelle Durkin and Gregory Hocking.
Jonathan receives the Youth Music Foundation of Australia (YMFA) Award of $30,000, the Armstrong-Martin Scholarship presented by the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, valued at $4,500 and the opportunity to participate in the Britten-Pears Young Artist Program in Britten’s home town of Aldeburgh in England. He has also been Jonathan has been invited to perform at the Australian Singing Competition Finals Concert that will be held at the Concourse, Chatswood on Saturday 3 October 2015.
The Opera Awards assist opera singers who are already fully fledged professionals but need financial support for further study in Australia and overseas. Language tuition, vocal coaching, preparation with a specialist for a particular role and the opportunity to see opera performed in other parts of the world are all valuable aids to furthering individual careers.
Jonathan Abernethy began singing as a boy soprano. In 2002 he joined New Zealand diva Dame Malvina Major as a soloist in Leonard Bernstein’s Jewish Psalms. In the same year he was again a soloist with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in the New Zealand Arts Festival Stadium Spectacular in Wellington.
As a young tenor, Jonathan is capitalising on that early success. In New Zealand he studied with Isabel Cunningham and Professor Terence Dennis at Otago University’s School of Music and went on to win the Joan F Stevens and Opera Australia Awards at the New Zealand Singing School in Napier in 2011. In 2012 he was invited to join the Opera Australia Moffatt Oxenbould Young Artist Programme in Sydney. For Opera Australia, he has sung the roles of Don Ottavio in Oz Opera’s Don Giovanni, Ruiz in Il Trovatore, Normanno in Lucia di Lammermoor, Tamino in The Magic Flute and Fenton in Falstaff. He has covered the roles of Lensky in Eugene Onegin and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni. In 2015, Jonathan’s performances for Opera Australia will include Tamino in The Magic Flute and Lerma in Don Carlos.
Earlier this year Sounds Like Sydney interviewed three members of Opera Australia’s Moffatt Oxenbould Young Artist Programme. Jonathan Abernethy was one of those singers. Click here to read the interview.