As the end of our first year of the program quickly approaches we thought it timely to share some of the activities and news from the Richard Divall Emerging Artists Programme.

Congratulations to program members: winner of the Herald Sun Aria competition Rebecca Rashleigh, runner up Michael Lampard and finalist Stephen Marsh. In August Stephen Marsh won Welsh Male Choir Singer of the Year and Michael Dimovski was a finalist in Opera Scholars Singer of the Year. Darcy Carroll has returned from two months training in Germany at Opera Summer Schools at the Berlin Opera Academy and the Lyric Opera Studio Weimar and Shakira Dugan has recently joined Kathryn Morrison Management.

Program members have had some terrific opportunities. Guest artists from ‘Der Rosenkavalier’ Daniel Sumegi and John Pickering joined forces with John Bolton Wood, conductor Pat Burns and agent Kathryn Morrison to run a mock audition on stage at the Athenaeum Theatre. This invaluable experience was then followed by a day of coaching with Daniel Sumegi and a German repertoire master class with John Pickering.

At the conclusion of our first term of Italian language classes at the Italian Cultural Institute we held a concert soiree in their delightful ballroom celebrating Italian opera. This weekly intensive language program has been so helpful that we immediately arranged another term of study.

A further acting intensive was held at 16th Street Actors Studio, this time focusing on theatrical storytelling and developing scene work based around Beaumarchais’ play of ‘The Marriage of Figaro’.

In Melbourne Opera’s recent production of Rossini’s ‘Otello’ Michael Dimovski sang the role of the Gondolier, Rebecca Rashleigh covered Desdemona and Shakira Dugan covered Emilia. This opportunity to cover and learn roles, be part of the production process and, at times, perform with the principal artists is a key aspect of the Richard Divall Emerging Artists Programme, being a performance ready program set within an active production company.

Legendary Australian soprano Rosamund Illing recently ran a master class on Mozart style, the equally legendary John Bolton Wood, a master class on building a character as a singer. Acclaimed musical theatre star Verity Hunt-Ballard has conducted stagecraft workshops and Captivate Action have taken program members through basic combat and stage stunts.

Program members are provided with with weekly coaching sessions to develop their repertoire with Melbourne Opera Head of Music, Raymond Lawrence. We are planning a studio production for members of the program as an active learning process with outcome, more news of this to come in 2019.

We continue to be grateful for the support we receive from FOMO, Allan Myers AC and Maria Myers AC 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.