The Richard Divall Emerging Artists Programme is up and running. We are thrilled to introduce our emerging artists (from left to right) Alison McIntosh Deszcz (soprano), Stephen Marsh (baritone), Michael Dimovksi (tenor), Darcy Carroll (bass-baritone), Michael Lampard (baritone) and Shakira Dugan (mezzo-soprano). Rebecca Rashleigh (soprano, not in photograph) also has recently joined the program.

This photograph was taken at a recent ‘Personal Presentation’ workshop at Jodie Hutchinson’s Photographic Studio. The singers learnt about their best ‘looks’ and some tricks of the trade on how to relate to the camera in portrait, three-quarter and full body photographs. With a hair and make up artist in attendance to assist, each singer received a new headshot, paid for by the program and can access their full suite of photos (at a discount rate) to use for their websites or portfolios.

It is part of a series of workshops and training opportunities the program is offering. Our program supports artists at varying stages of development and has no age limit. The focus is on becoming performance ready and we work closely with singers to find out what specific help they need to advance their careers. Singers receive individual support and a specially created workshop program around role preparation musically, linguistically and dramatically.

We are currently collaborating with Melbourne based institutions 16th Street Actors Studio and the Italian Institute of Culture developing tailored programs. We are making these opportunities available to other associated emerging singers (whenever possible). We are professional, approachable, flexible, versatile and responsive.

The singers receive performance and cover opportunities in Melbourne Opera productions and have access to master classes with visiting artists. Michael Lampard, Michael Dimovski and Stephen Marsh all reaped extraordinary rewards from their performance opportunities in ‘Tristan und Isolde’ (earlier in 2018) under the baton of Maestro Anthony Negus. Alison McIntosh-Deszcz, Shakira Dugan, Rebecca Rashleigh and Michael Dimovski are busy rehearsing roles in ‘Der Rosenkavalier’. Shakira is also covering the huge role of Octavian and is having the wonderful experience of working alongside outstanding established artists Daniel Sumegi and Lee Abrahmsen in the early weeks of rehearsal before Daniele Calder joins, conducted by Maestro David Kram. Rebecca is covering Sophie and also rehearsing before Anna Voshege arrives from Vienna. All emerging artists receive coaching and role preparation, are ready to step into rehearsals and those not involved are encouraged to sit in on rehearsals as observers.

Currently, with individual program support, Stephen, Shakira, Alison, and Rebecca are enrolled in 10 weeks of Italian Classes. Stephen is undertaking private drama coaching, Michael Lampard is receiving specific repertoire coaching, Michael Dimovski is working on vocal technique and Darcy Carroll is at German Opera Summer School. This is in addition to Acting Intensives, Personal Presentation and mentoring.

Plans are now forging ahead for further Acting Intensives, Stagecraft, Movement, Master Classes in Audition/Competition Etiquette and Performance, Recitative Workshops, German Language and further Italian Intensives.

We are so grateful for the support we receive from FOMO and the Sylvia Fisher Fund. Every cent counts towards Melbourne Opera providing this essential program. This is intensive and ongoing training that only a production company can offer and is unique in its approach. If you are interested in finding out more, becoming a one-off donor or a major ongoing supporter of the program please contact Melbourne Opera Company Manager – Robbie McPhee on (03) 9600 2488 or by email: info@nullmelbourneopera.com.

We look forward to introducing you to the singers at special events soon.

“The Richard Divall Emerging Artists Programme is named to honour the memory of one of Australia’s most lauded conductors, and close friend of Melbourne Opera, Maestro Richard Divall AO OBE. It was started by a generous bequest made by Melbourne born international soprano, Sylvia Fisher”

“The program is being managed and coordinated by Opera Director Suzanne Chaundy, with Melbourne Opera Artistic Director – Greg Hocking AM, Head of Music – Raymond Lawrence and singers Margaret Haggart, Geoffrey Harris and Roger Howell”.

Suzanne Chaundy
Program Director