The Artist Development Program is currently in a redevelopment phase and the information below is for reference only.

The Artist Development Programme aims to provide young artists with the tools required to craft successful, long-lasting careers.

The ASC Artist Development Programme is made possible through the generous support of Roy & Gay Woodward and Antonio & Concetta Pirello.

In 2016 the IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition launched an exciting new Artist Development Programme (ADP) under the direction of acclaimed soprano Emma Matthews. All Finalists in the Competition are invited to enrol in the programme and are matched with an appropriate Mentor. The Mentor works with the singer over twelve months and may suggest further training and activities tailored to their individual needs. The ASC aims to ensure that entrants are engaged through these opportunities to develop their knowledge, skills and expertise. It is our hope that the ADP will be the foundation for bright, sustainable careers. It is envisaged the Artist Development Programme: • will encourage professionals within the industry to take on a mentoring role for singers who are just embarking on their own learning and career journey; • will offer strong lines of communication within a supportive environment; and • will be focused and provide clear, quantifiable outcomes. We believe that as well as being happier, healthier and more fulfilled, participants in our programme will also deliver improved artistic performances.

The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. - William Arthur Ward

Who are our mentors?

Emma Matthews Director of ADP

Emma is a highly acclaimed and awarded soprano having received more Helpmann Awards than any other individual artist, nine Green Room Awards, the Mo Award and the Remy Martin Australian Opera Award. She has performed with all the state opera companies and the major Australian symphony orchestras and with conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Marko Letonja, Sir Charles Mackerras and Simone Young. In 2017 Emma was appointed Head of Voice at West Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

Jud Arthur Mentor

Bass from New Zealand who has been Australian based since 2003. Jud has performed over 40 operatic, bass roles in Australia for Opera Australia, Western Australian Opera, Victorian Opera, South Australian Opera, and Queensland Opera, as well as regularly performing with the New Zealand Opera Company.

Cheryl Barker AO Mentor

Australian soprano who has had a long international career with various companies including Opera Australia, Houston Grand Opera and the English National Opera. Cheryl has established a distinguished opera career throughout the UK, Europe, USA and Australasia. She has appeared at London’s Barbican, Royal Albert Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Wigmore Hall, Halle Orchestra and Edinburgh Spoleto Festivals and she appears regularly with Opera Australia.

Jeffrey Black Mentor

An internationally acclaimed baritone and vocal consultant. Jeffrey has sung with some of the world’s leading opera companies including the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera and Opera Australia. During his distinguished career he was the recipient of many awards and accolades including the Marianne Mathy Scholarship in 1983.

Kanen Breen Mentor

A popular Australian tenor who has worked with Opera Australia since 2004 and has enjoyed a varied and successful international career since he made his international debut in the rôle of Rodolfo, in Baz Luhrman’s Broadway production of Puccini’s La Boheme in New York in 2003.

Fiona Campbell Mentor

One of Australia’s most versatile and beloved classical singers - a producer and guest ABC presenter, accomplished international performer, recitalist and recording artist. Winner of the national Limelight Award for Best Solo Performance 2011, vocal winner of the ABC Young Performer of the Year Award and the ASC Opera Awards, Fiona has consistently received wide critical acclaim for her powerful performances and exquisite musicianship.

José Carbó Mentor

Celebrated Australian baritone José Carbó was born in Argentina of Spanish and Italian descent, and moved with his family to Australia at an early age. He has enjoyed a successful career both here and overseas and was the winner of the prestigious Australian Opera Awards in 2005.

James Clayton Mentor

Baritone James Clayton has been lauded by audiences and reviewers alike for his performances throughout the opera houses and concert halls of Australia and New Zealand. Before turning to opera, James spent ten years as a professional French horn player.

James is a senior lecturer in voice at Victoria University of Wellington.

Conal Coad Mentor

Conal is a celebrated Australian opera singer known for his dramatic interpretations of the bass repertoire. He was born in Feilding, New Zealand and resides in Australia and Belgium. A regular with Opera Australia, various international companies and New Zealand Opera, Conal has also released several popular recordings.

Peter Coleman-Wright Mentor

Baritone Peter Coleman-Wright is widely considered one of the most versatile singers in the world today, equally home in opera, concert and recital.
He has sung more that 60 roles throughout the worlds famous opera houses, The Met, Covent Garden, La Scala, Paris, Vienna and Munich and others including Figaro, Forester, Michele, Scarpia, Marcello, Sharpless, Don Giovanni, Count, Onegin, Dandini, Billy Budd, Gunther, Golaud, Germont, Chorebe, Wolfram, Pizzaro, and Sweeny Todd. His numerous awards include Helpmann Awards for Todd and The Traveller (Death in Venice), Green room awards for Billy Budd, Orestes, and Harry Joy (Brett Dean).

Jacqueline Dark (1968–2023) Mentor

After completing a Bachelor of Physics degree, Jacqueline attended the Opera Studio at the Victorian College of the Arts, graduating in 1996 with First Class Honours. A popular and diverse performer, her stage experience encompasses opera, music theatre, cabaret, theatre restaurant and concert performances. In 2016, Jacqueline Dark sang the Mother Abbess in the National Tour of "The Sound of Music" before returning to Opera Australia as Fricka in their revival of "Der Ring des Nibelungen".

Christine Douglas Mentor

Christine has had a distinguished career as an operatic soprano with Opera Australia, the Victorian State Opera, State Opera of South Australia, Western Australian Opera, Opera Queensland, Melbourne and Tasmanian Symphony Orchestras and the Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide Festivals. She has worked for Opera Australia, Opera Queensland and the NZ Singing School as a director, and as founding Artistic Director for Sydney based company, Pacific Opera.

Rachelle Durkin Mentor

Australian soprano Rachelle Durkin is one of opera's most striking young artists performing at major houses worldwide to critical acclaim. Rachelle began her career by winning the top three vocal competitions in Australia in 2000: The Herald Sun Aria Competition, The Marianne Mathy Scholarship in the Australian Singing Competition and The Metropolitan Opera Award.

Amelia Farrugia Mentor

Amelia Farrugia is regarded as one of the brightest stars of opera in Australia. Amelia Farrugia was a winner of the 1995 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in New York and has won many major singing competitions in Australia. She is the first Australian solo artist to record on the prestigious Decca label since Dame Joan Sutherland in 1959. Amelia was the winner of the Marianne Mathy Scholarship in 1993.

Taryn Fiebig (1972– 2021) Mentor

Helpmann Award-winning soprano Taryn Fiebig is one of Australia most popular and versatile artists. Taryn initially graduated as a cellist from the School of Music, University of Western Australia, before commencing vocal training and joining Opera Australia in 2005 as a principal soprano.

Margaret Haggart Mentor

Margaret's professional opera career began in the UK performing Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute and Gilda in Rigoletto with Welsh National Opera. Her extraordinary repertoire now spans more than 90 opera roles and 25 major choral/orchestral works. She is a principal soprano at the Opera Australia.

Anke Höppner Mentor

Anke was born Germany and studied with Professor Renate Faltin at the Hanns-Eisler Conservatorium in Berlin. In 2001, she won the Helpmann Award for best female operatic performance. She is a lecturer in Vocal Studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Sydney University.

Rosamund Illing Mentor

Rosamund, one of Australia’s most distinguished operatic artists, received her Bachelor of Music degree (with Honors) from the University of Adelaide. Her career spans the breadth of the repertoire for lyric soprano in opera, symphony and song. She has performed to critical acclaim in England, France, Germany, Japan, the United States, Canada and Australia and her recordings have won many major awards.

Suzanne Johnston Mentor

Mezzo soprano Suzanne Johnston has achieved the rare distinction of being recognised equally for her success in opera, music theatre, and as a concert performer. Her numerous awards include the Sydney Theatre Critics’ Circle Award (Operatic Performance of the Year), MO Award (Operatic Performer of the Year), Churchill Fellowship, ARIA and four Green Room Awards.

Rosario La Spina Mentor

Rosario is an Australian operatic tenor who has had an active international career since the early 2000s. He has worked with many leading opera houses and orchestras, singing under such conductors as Renato Palumbo, Bruno Bartoletti, Gary Bertini, Daniele Callegari and Richard Hickox. Since 2005, he has performed regularly with Opera Australia.

Raymond Lawrence Mentor

Raymond is currently Musical Director for Opera Australia’s Victorian Schools Tour and has worked as repetiteur for Opera Australia, Victoria Opera and Melbourne Opera. Since 2011 Raymond has been Head of Music and Chorus Master for Melbourne Opera.

Michael Lewis Mentor

One of Australia’s most respected singers, is highly regarded for his command of both operatic and concert repertoire. After winning the Metropolitan Opera Competition in 1973 and an Arts Council Scholarship, Michael left Adelaide for Europe, marking the beginning of a successful international career. A highly regarded singing teacher, mentor and coach, Michael has recently taken up the post of visiting voice teacher at WAAPA (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts).

Jennifer McGregor Mentor

Jennifer began her operatic career as one of Richard Bonynge’s protégés, singing Ophelia to Sherill Milne’s Hamlet. Her Lucia di Lammermoor was the first to be sung in Australia after Dame Joan Sutherland, with whom she worked in Die Fledermaus and Alcina. She also has an extensive concert repertoire and has worked with conductors such as Richard Bonynge, Simone Young, Charles Mackerras, and Edo de Waart.

Tahu Matheson Mentor

Tahu is a classical pianist and conductor who has worked with Opera Australia since 2007. He is a frequent accompanist for international artists including Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Yvonne Kenny and Emma Matthews.

Dominic Natoli Mentor

Internationally acclaimed, award-winning tenor Dominic Natoli has appeared throughout Europe, the USA, Australasia, and Japan, singing a broad range of repertoire, being most highly regarded for his Verdi and Puccini roles. Dominic also teaches privately as well as at the Royal Academy of Music, and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, in London.

Milijana Nikolic Mentor

Milijana is a mezzo soprano currently singing in major operas throughout the world. Some of these famous houses include Teatro alla Scala (Milan), Teatro dell'Opera, (Roma) and the Sydney Opera House. She has won awards at international competitions, including the Biserka Cveji Award as "most outstanding vocalist of the year 1998", the Nikola Cvejic Award as "most promising young singer" in the Petar Konjovi International Competition.

Graham Pushee Mentor

Graham completed a teaching degree in Sydney before being awarded a Churchill Fellowship which enabled him to continue his voice studies in the UK and at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland. Based in Basel for over 20 years he performed as a counter tenor throughout Europe, America and made regular guest appearances for Opera Australia. Upon relocating back to Sydney in 2001 he commenced working with Virginia Braden at Arts Management before choosing to retire from singing in 2006 and subsequently becoming managing director of Arts Management.

Linnhe Robertson Mentor

Linnhe has worked extensively in the major music centres throughout the world as a vocal coach, repetiteur, accompanist and harpsichordist. She now has the role of ‘Artistic and Research Consultant for Opera & Voice’ at the Guildhall School of Speech & Drama in London.

Sally-Anne Russell Mentor

One of Australia’s finest mezzo sopranos, Sally-Anne has over fifty operatic roles in her repertoire and has sung in fifteen countries including the United States, Austria, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, New Zealand, Japan and Canada. As a principal guest artist she has sung with Opera Australia, all of the State Opera companies and all of the major Australian symphony orchestras. She was a member of the Victoria State Opera Young Artist Program and has won many prizes and awards at competitions such as The Australian Singing Competition.

Barry Ryan Mentor

Australian baritone Barry Ryan graduated with honours from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. His many awards for singing include the Shell Aria, the New York Metropolitan Auditions, the Marten Bequest for Singing, the Vienna State Opera Award and the Green Room Award. In 2013, Barry Ryan received an Order of Australia for his services to classical music.

Sam Sakker Mentor

London based Australian tenor Samuel Sakker studied Music at the Queensland Conservatorium, and later, Commerce at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. A former Royal Opera House company principal, the 2017/18 season engagements include Erik Der fliegende Holländer (Nederlandse Reisopera); Laertes in the Australian premier of Brett Dean’s Hamlet (Adelaide Festival); tenor soloist in Song of the Earth (Royal Ballet and English National Ballet); and opera gala concerts at Symphony Hall, Birmingham, and the Bridgwater Hall, Manchester.

Stuart Skelton Mentor

Named Male Singer of the Year at the 2014 International Opera Awards, Stuart is one of the finest heldentenors on the stage today, critically acclaimed for his outstanding musicianship, tonal beauty and intensely dramatic portrayals. Stuart has appeared in many of the world’s most celebrated opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera, English National Opera.

Stuart was the winner of the Marianne Mathy Scholarship in 1991.

Daniel Sumegi Mentor

Australian bass-baritone Daniel Sumegi made his debut in 1988 and has an impressive career behind him. With over 100 roles in his repertoire, he has sung at the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Covent Garden and the Paris Opera, as well as major opera companies across the United States, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.

Glenn Winslade Mentor

Australian tenor, Glenn Winslade, studied at the New South Wales Conservatorium and at the Vienna Conservatory. He is known for his interpretations of dramatic roles such as Florestan in Fidelio, the title role in Idomeneo, the title role in La clemenza di Tito, Erik in The Flying Dutchman, the title role in Rienzi, the title role in Lohengrin, the title role in Tannhäuser, the Emperor in Die Frauohne Schatten, Apollo in Daphne, Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos and Max in Der Freischütz.

2016 October Update
The inaugural Artist Development Programme (ADP) has successfully launched with all participants expressing great enthusiasm and excitement for the year ahead.

In the weeks following the Finals, Emma Matthews, coordinator of the programme, reviewed all six applications and carefully selected Mentors for each of the singers.  Those pairings were confirmed in late September.
This year we have six singers in the cohort. At the discretion of the ADP panel, Anastasia Bickel was invited to join this year's Mentor Programme.
The Mentors were briefed on their role in the Programme, given detailed information about their Mentees, and then Emma facilitated the introductions.
Each Mentor will now work with their singer over the next twelve months giving career advice and guidance and they may also suggest further training and activities tailored to the singer’s individual needs. This highly personalised approach is unique among mentoring programmes of this kind in Australia.

Morgan Balfour & Rachelle Durkin
Morgan, a soprano from NSW currently studying at the San Francisco Conservatorium, has been paired with New York-based lyric coloratura soprano Rachelle Durkin.

Anastasia Bickel & Linnhe Robertson
Queensland mezzo Anastasia has been paired with respected vocal coach and Artistic and Research Consultant for Opera & Voice at Guildhall, Linnhe Robertson.

Eliza Boom & Cheryl Barker AO
Eliza Boom, a soprano from New Zealand, has been paired with celebrated international soprano, Cheryl Barker AO.

Jarvis Dams & Peter Coleman-Wright
Baritone Jarvis Dams from New Zealand has been paired with acclaimed baritone Peter Coleman-Wright.

Nicholas Tolputt & Graham Pushee
2016 Mathy Winner, NSW-based countertenor Nicholas has been paired with renowned Australian countertenor Graham Pushee.

Sarah Wang & Stuart Skelton
Sarah Wang, a NSW soprano currently completing a Masters at the University of Southern California has been paired with one of the finest heldentenors on the stage today, critically acclaimed Stuart Skelton.

2017 February Update

The 2017 Artist Development Programme (ADP) is off to a great start with Coordinator Emma Matthews successfully pairing the singers with appropriate Mentors.
This year we have five singers in the cohort, four 2017 Finalists and one Semi Finalist, Jae Kwon Kim, whose performance at the Semi Finals earned him a place in the ADP.
Already the programme is having an impact with Paull-Anthony Keightley accessing private lessons and German coaching at the recommendation of his Mentor, Daniel Sumegi:
"The Artistic Development Programme has been a wonderfully complementary opportunity from the IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition. I am preparing to move to Berlin after winning the ‘Opera Foundation for Young Australians Deutche Oper Berlin Award’ and was in need to further my German language skills. Under the guidance of Daniel Sumegi we agreed to continue my singing lessons with Gregory Yurisich in Perth and complete A1 German from the Goethe Institute Sydney. Now I have a solid base to build upon before I head to Germany in July of this year."
- Paull-Anthony Keightley

Damian Arnold & Sam Sakker
Daniel, a tenor from NSW currently studying at Guildhall, has been paired with London-based tenor and rising star, Sam Sakker.
Paull-Anthony Keightley & Daniel Sumegi
WA bass baritone Paull-Anthony has been paired with internationally-renowned bass baritone, Daniel Sumegi.

Jae-Kwon Kim & Michael Lewis OAM
Jae-Kwon Kim, a baritone from New South Wales, has been paired with legendary baritone, Michael Lewis.

Filipe Manu & Dominic Natoli
2017 Mathy Winner, Tenor Filipe Manu from New Zealand has been paired with award-winning tenor, Dominic Natoli.

Shikara Ringdahl & Tahu Matheson
Queensland mezzo Shikara has been paired with renowned Australian pianist and Head of Music at Opera Australia, Tahu Matheson.