And with that, we conclude another year. We say goodbye to 2016 and welcome 2017 with open arms. Filled with much success, challenges, loss and new innovations, I began to reflect on some of 2016 highlights.
I was thrilled to be a part of many new projects and productions as a member of Victorian Opera's Developing Artist program - primarily in their production of Laughter and Tears. In the portion of Tears, Leoncavallo's spectacular opera I Pagliacci was showcased and, in contrasting with most productions since its premiere, Victorian Opera paired this popular opera not with that of Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana but with a Baroque pasticcio. This section of the opera featured ensembles and arias from the Baroque era as a prequel story to I Pagliacci, combining the acrobatics of the astonishing four-hander group, Dislocate.
As a Developing Artist for the company, I was blessed to perform in this unusual coupling of Laughter and found myself singing with the incredible Russian soprano Elvira Fatykhova on a wooden box, in a Harriet Oxley original silk costume, while Kate Fryer and DJ Garner from Dislocate, spun and twirled between us and the audience (pictured below). Dislocate's contribution to this production was one of the reasons of its success, as this production was a dynamic and fresh take on a regularly performed opera duet.
Yet, performing in my first professional operatic role as Alisa in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor has to be my greatest 2016 highlight. Performing along side the incomparable soprano Jessica Pratt, in a role she is most known for throughout the world, was a dream. Between the supportive and creative Director Cameron Menzies, Jessica and Cameron were incredibly generous with their time and pushed my portrayal of this character further creating a supportive on-stage relationship. The principal cast included, José Carbó, Jud Arthur, Carlos Barcenas, Michael Lapina and Michael Petruccelli. These six talented and accomplished artists were the best role models for professionalism, success and hard work as I was thrown into the next exciting chapter of my career - professional main stage productions.
2016 also brought another support network of which I will maintain throughout my career - a Joseph Sambrook Opera Scholarship with Melba Opera Trust in Melbourne. The MOT is a year long program providing young singers with the opportunity to learn more about this industry as a 'small business' and how one maintains and organises their busy lives. Not only this, MOT provide their Scholars with the financial means to continue to study and perfect their craft, which is a never ending cycle of discovery and knowledge. This is coupled with week long intensive masterclass sessions and workshops, and concerts in Melbourne and Sydney - allowing you the opportunity to trial many of the skills and developments learned in the program.
2016 was also littered with concerts and performances around Melbourne highlighting the wonderful opportunities that are presented to young singers working and studying in this cultural hub.
I am looking forward to the opportunities that 2017 will bring as a freelance artist in Melbourne whilst exploring and spending some time in the dynamic city of Sydney, supporting loved ones navigating their own exciting journeys.