Noosa’s search for ‘The Voice’
- Published: 15 March 2016
- Written by NFA Editor
Regional Australia’s richest opera award calls for contestants
Are you an emerging opera diva or male vocalist looking for the next big break? Regional Australia’s richest and most prestigious opera prize, the Dame Joan Sutherland Vocal Competition Award 2016, could help you hit a career high note.
Founded by Noosa Federation of the Arts (NFA) in 1994, the Dame Joan Sutherland Award (DJSA), has helped 12 winners plus numerous runners-up to reach dizzying heights performing with illustrious opera houses nationally and abroad.
If you’re an amateur or professional soprano, mezzo, contralto, baritone, bass, tenor or counter-tenor singer aged 20-34, and an Australian resident, you’re eligible to apply for this coveted national award.
Applicants will audition live before a panel of adjudicators on Sunday 5 June at Griffith University Conservatorium of Music, Brisbane. Contestants at the heats will sing their song of choice plus either an aria, a song from the classical repertoire or an operetta / music theatre piece chosen for them by the panel. The top six will then battle it out at the final in Noosa, Friday 22 July.
This year’s panel for the heats and final are Brad Jarrett (NFA artistic advisor and former artistic administrator Opera Queensland), Andrew Collis (performer with major opera houses in Germany, US and Australia) and Margaret Russell (a long-standing soloist and guest in more than 25 German opera houses).
Jarrett said at the heats and the final, judges would be looking for voice quality, natural ability and vocal technique; repertoire choice, language ability and understanding of the text; performance; musical style; and a well conceived plan about how they would spend the prize money.
At the final (Noosa) the audience votes for the People’s Choice Award and the judges also assess how the finalists communicate with the audience emotionally and musically.
“We’re looking for someone with that indefinable star quality,” Jarrett said. “The best performance on the night, taking into account the judging criteria, wins.”
NFA past chairman Meg Lawrence said the DJSA was a tremendous opportunity for young singers to receive feedback from a panel of accomplished judges.
Over the past 15 years, 500 young singers have auditioned to some of the world’s most seasoned opera divas and artists. Past adjudicators include Marilyn Richardson (who opened Sydney Opera House), James Christiansen (Chorus Master Queensland Opera and one of Australia’s foremost voice teachers), Jillianne Stoll (repetiteur Opera Queensland and Principal/Guest Vocal Coach for its Young Artist Program), Lisa Gasteen (1991 winner Cardiff Singer of the World competition) and the late Margreta Elkins (who sang with her friend Dame Joan Sutherland at Covent Garden).
Jarrett said the DJSA was a “stepping stone” to becoming a successful opera singer in today’s world. The winner could travel anywhere to pursue the best opportunities to either continue their vocal development, immerse themselves culturally in preparation for an operatic career, or to access opportunities to get work in major international opera houses.
Jade Moffatt, winner 2014, advises young opera singers to “go for it!”.
“It’s not only a wonderful opportunity to perform for an incredibly supportive and encouraging panel and audience, but you might just find yourself with some much needed cash to help you on your way,” Moffatt said.
After her win, Moffatt travelled to the UK for auditions and to be coached by David Harper, have lessons with opera diva Yvonne Kenny and work with the great Welsh tenor, Dennis O’Neill. She’s currently undertaking her Masters on a full tuition scholarship at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. She said signing for her “opera idol” Renee Fleming in London in February was a career highlight.
“I remember listening to her (Fleming’s) recordings over and over, and going to see her in MET live screenings at the cinema,” Moffatt said.
“I never thought I would ever get the opportunity to meet her! She was so incredibly warm and welcoming, and I came away from the masterclass with newfound motivation. She was also really funny. She realised I was Australian, and told me stories about hanging out with Hugh Jackman.”
Moffatt and other past star winners expressed their gratitude for the moral and financial support of NFA members and friends.
“I am incredibly grateful to the NFA for its amazing support of young opera singers, and would not be where I am today without their generosity,” Moffatt said.
Winner 2008 Russell Harcourt said being awarded the DJSA was “a great encouragement, both financially and professionally, and a recognition of the countertenor voice”.
“Without it, my postgraduate studies at The Royal Academy of Music (2008-2010) would not have been possible,” Harcourt said.
“I now study with Yvonne Kenny in London, who continues to encourage me in every aspect of fine bel canto technique – beauty of tone, ease of vocal production and delivery of text. Qualities Dame Joan made appear effortless!”
Where are they now?
• Amy Wilkinson (winner 2001) (soprano) won a three-month scholarship to study at the NY MET and was invited to audition for Opera Paris. After living and working in the USA for some years she has now returned to Australia.
• Mirusia Louwerse (winner 2006) at 21-years-old was the youngest DJSA winner. Since 2007 she has toured the world as the star soprano of Andre Rieu and as a solo artist.
• Virgilio Marino (winner 2007), tenor, will be performing Pinkerton in Opera Queensland’s production of Madama Butterfly in May, followed by Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville in July.
• Victoria Lambourn (People’s Choice Award winner 2007) (mezzo soprano) will perform Oberto in Handel’s Alcina at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Germany in April and Smeraldina in The Love of Three Oranges for Opera Australia in May-July.
• Kang Wang (People’s Choice Award Winner 2010), tenor, is on the Lindemann Young Artist Development Programme at the MET this year. He’s a regular soloist with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and returns in March for the Mozart Requiem. He was also a principal singer at Theater Basel in Switzerland.
About Noosa Federation of the Arts
NFA was founded in 1989 to promote the arts within the local community and to elevate Noosa as a cultural destination. The bi-annual DJSA is integral to NFA’s mission to encourage youth involvement in the arts and relies on donation for its continuation.
First prize $15,000, Margreta Elkins Award $4000, Judges Encouragement Award $1000, People’s Choice $750 and an Audition Encouragement Award $300.
Photo: L-R (centre) Renee Fleming, Jade Moffatt (on Fleming’s right). Russell Harcourt, Kang Wang & Mirusia Louwerse.
For further information, please contact:
King Arthur - at the Brisbane Baroque
- Published: 10 February 2016
- Written by NFA Editor
Brisbane City Hall
Monday 11th April – 7.30pm
Noosa Federation of the Arts package includes: Bus transport - Noosa / Brisbane return and reserved tickets.
Semi-opera by Henry Purcell to an original text by John Dryden Adapted by Terence Clarke Directed by Mark Gaal with chorus, soloists and members of the Orchestra of the Antipodes conducted by Brett Weymark
Stirring choruses, sparkling solos and delicious incidental music combine to make King Arthur a memorable musical epic with the widest possible appeal.
This specially commissioned edition directed by Mark Gaal includes distinguished international and local recitalist, concert and stage performer Greta Bradman.
Greta Bradman – recipient of Australian International Opera Award, critics choice award APRA/ AMCOS Performance of the year 2013, numerous Ozcart awards. Helpmann award nominee.
Recordings for Sony Music, ABC Classics – latest album “My Hero” debuted at No.1 on the ARIA classical and crossover charts.
Other soloists include: Jacqueline Porter, Nicholas Scott, Brenton Spiteri, David Greco and Samuel Piper.
All proceeds contribute to fundraising for the Dame Joan Sutherland Award.
Numbers are limited to 24-33 people due to available bus size.
Reserve your tickets by contacting:
Noosa Federation of the Arts Ph: 0447 280 521 (close off date for reservation - early Feb 2016) Information regarding bus departure / return times will be provided closer to the date.
Cost: $150 single, $280 couple.
Dame Joan Sutherland Award 2016
- Published: 14 October 2015
- Written by NFA Editor
Auditions will be held at Griffith University Conservatorium of Music on 5th June.
Finals will be held in Noosa at 5pm on Friday 22nd July, 2016.
First prize $15,000, Margreta Elkins Award $4,000, Judges Encouragement Award $1,000, People’s Choice $750, Audition Encouragement Award $300
The Award is open to male and female singers between the ages of 20 and 34 years in the following categories– soprano, mezzo, contralto, baritone, bass, tenor, counter-tenor.
All entries submitted must be received by 5pm on Friday 29th April 2016.
2014 Dame Joan Sutherland Award - Finals
- Published: 26 July 2014
- Written by NFA Editor
The 2014 finals were held on Friday 25th July at Good Shepherd Lutheran Hall, Noosaville. The winner of the $15,000 Dame Joan Sutherland Award and also the People’s Choice Award of $500 was mezzo-soprano Jade Moffat from Toowoomba, pictured left, currently studying in Sydney.
Jade holds a Bachelor of Music in Advanced Performance from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. She has a long list of performances - from 2008 to 2014 - with Opera Queensland and the Queensland Conservatorium. She has also sung in Tel Aviv, where she played Mrs Nolan in Menotti’s The Medium, was soloist with the Barrier Reef Orchestra and alto-soloist with the Sunshine Coast Orchestra, singing in Vivaldi’s Dixit Dominus and Gloria.
Runner-up (second) was Petah Chapman, soprano, from Queensland. Petah has completed a Bachelor of Music degree, majoring in Advanced Performance, has studied singing techniques and performance training at James Cook University, and has also studied various styles of dance. From 2011 until now she has performed in eight operas with both Opera Queensland and The Queensland Conservatorium. Her Award was $4,000.
The Encouragement Award of $1000 went to soprano Sylvie Humphries from Sydney.
See our Facebook page for more information and pictures.
Pictured above right, Jade Moffat. Pictured below, left to right: Sylvie Humphries, Jade Moffat, Marilyn Richardson (adjudicator), Petah Chapman.
- Published: 13 September 2009
- Written by nfap
The Noosa Federation Of The Arts aims to make Noosa a cultural destination by presenting high calibre international and national artists and performers at an affordable cost.
Our flagship vocal competition - The Dame Joan Sutherland Award - was last held on 25th July 2014. See above for results and pictures. The 2010 competition finals were held on Thursday 24th June.
In 2008 we were privileged to have Lisa Gasteen as guest judge. In our web gallery is a selection of photos from the 2008 finals.
We are a registered, non-profit Arts organisation. All donations above $2 are tax deductible.
ABN: 57 521 208 469
Juanita Overson, Chairman
(Dame Joan Sutherland, OM, AC, DBE - pictured right).