BY STEPHANIE ESLAKE
This week, four emerging opera stars experience a rare opportunity for professional development, exclusive workshops and coaching with leaders in the industry.
Lisette Boulton, Keelin Howe, Jeremy Boulton, and Katrina Wiseman have been selected as the winners of Opera Australia’s Regional Student Scholarship. They’re set for music, acting, and movement workshops, vocal coaching, tickets to see OA live at the Sydney Opera House, and the chance to show off their skills in an aria performance.
We wanted to hear what the singers themselves are dreaming about – what they are hoping to learn as part of the program, and take with them into their future careers. So we are excited to introduce to you these winners – and reveal each of their hopes and expectations. We’ll also check back in with the four artists to learn about how they progressed along the way.
A scholarship winner at the Murray Conservatorium in Albury, Lisette studies classical voice and is also a saxophonist in her college band. She looks forward to working with Opera Australia’s coaches, repetiteurs and musicians, and working alongside other young opera enthusiasts. She hopes to complete a Bachelor of Music and pursue a career as an opera singer.
Lisette’s hopes and expectations for professional development
It’s difficult I think for most regional students to pursue an interest in opera. As an aspiring Queen of the Night, Musetta and Manon Lescaut, I’m honoured to have been selected to immerse myself amidst the workings of a professional opera company; to receive language, drama and vocal coaching and observe rehearsals at Opera Australia!
At 17, I recognise that my voice won’t reach maturity for at least another ten years and hope that this scholarship will provide a snap-shot into what life may look life as a professional opera singer, because the journey is only just beginning.
Jeremy has been a member of the Talent Development Project in 2015 and 2016, and a Featured Artist in the 2015 Schools Spectacular. He also held numerous lead roles in musicals at his high school, including Corny Collins in Hairspray, Emmett in Legally Blonde and Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance. In 2017, he hopes to study at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, majoring in Classical Voice.
Jeremy’s hopes and expectations for professional development
I’m hoping to gain new perspectives on how to use my voice and discover the best ways I can utilise it in the operatic and classical genres. I’m also hoping to have the opportunity to develop my musicianship and find out the ways I can perceive and understand the music, as well as the impacting messages behind an opera’s libretto.
This wonderful opportunity is important in developing my vocal technique. Having experienced professionals such as the tutors at Opera Australia will allow me to access constructive criticism, which I can then take away from the program and improve my voice.
Katrina has undertaken singing lessons since 2013, and has been a member of several choirs as well as the Chorus for Canberra Opera’s productions of La Bohème and Die Fledermaus. In the future, she intends to continue singing, and would like to study Classical Voice at a conservatorium before travelling internationally.
Katrina’s hopes and expectations for professional development
The scholarship allows me to progress from being a school student who enjoys singing, and to treat my passion professionally. This opportunity to realise the full potential of my voice is not available anywhere else. I hope to gain friends, experience, knowledge and training through the scholarship week, all of which will help me become a better singer in the future. The fact that I will work with coaches who normally work with some of the best singers in the country is a dream come true, and will not only improve my vocal, language and acting skills, but provide inspiration for the future.
I am excited to have the opportunity to work with coaches and singers of an incredibly high calibre, as well as rehearse at a much greater intensity than has been possible at school. It also allows me to sing duets and quartets with other students who have similar passions; something that I don’t get to do very often. Not only this, but these same pieces will be coached with acting and language coaches to perfect all aspects of the performance.
In addition to singing, Keelin also takes viola and violin lessons, and has performed in several choirs and as part of her school musicals. She wants to sing for the rest of her life, and continue to learn and improve her technique before embarking on a classical singing career.
Keelin’s hopes and expectations for professional development
I am hoping to gain more confidence in my technique, an appreciation of how to bring drama to my performances, and memories that will give me inspiration for my future singing career, whatever form that may take. It is great to get to meet professional singers and have the chance to talk to them about their experiences. Seeing behind-the-scenes of the company and the theatre really helps to build a picture of what an opera singer’s working life looks like. Language coaching will be incredibly useful in the future, giving me more confidence in my performances. It is also important because I will get to spend time getting to know other young people with a love of technical singing and interest in opera. The passion of opera is something that a lot of young people don’t understand.
Learn more about the scholarship online, and check back in with us again as we return to track the progress of each singer on their scholarship journey.
Images supplied. Credit: Keith Saunders.