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Opera singer accompanied by pianist

The Sydney Opera House Opera Award

The Sydney Opera House Opera Award, enabled by The Phillip and Myrtle Foster Memorial Award and The Joy Lindsay and Valerie North Opera Award, enables exceptional emerging Australian singers to benefit from exposure to and mentoring by world-renowned artists.

The Sydney Opera House Opera Award is part of the Opera House’s long-standing commitment, since 1989, to developing excellence in operatic performers through a series of prizes and masterclasses. Conducted annually by the Opera House, the Award currently enables selected participants to take part in a masterclass at the Opera House with a world-renowned opera artist.

First awarded in 1989, The Phillip & Myrtle Foster Memorial Award recipients were selected by the adjudication panel of The Mathy & Opera Awards within the Australian Singing Competition (ASC). From 2003-2011, the recipient was selected by audience vote during the Finals Concert of the ASC Mathy Award. In recent years, beneficiaries of the Award have been students of excellence from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

The Award is one of a number of Opera House initiatives to support the development of the next generation of arts professionals. Complementary Opera House initiatives that support the development of arts professionals include the Lloyd Martin Travelling Scholarship for Emerging Arts Leaders and Multidisciplinary Australian Danish Exchange (MADE) by the Opera House.

Tickets for the 2019 Sydney Opera House Opera Award with Wallis Giunta can be purchased here

The Phillip and Myrtle Foster Memorial Award

The Opera House acknowledges the generosity of the late Colin Foster in establishing The Phillip and Myrtle Foster Memorial Award through a gift in his Will in memory of his parents, Phillip and Myrtle Foster.

The Joy Lindsay and Valerie North Opera Award

The Opera House acknowledges the generosity of the late Joy Lindsay in establishing The Joy Lindsay and Valerie North Opera Award through a gift in her Will in memory of her sister the late Valerie North.

A donor-enabled award providing mentorship between emerging Australian talent and internationally reknowned opera singers. 

2012: Susan Graham 

The 2012 masterclass was conducted by acclaimed American mezzosoprano Susan Graham, accompanied by Malcolm Martineau. The Grammy award winning opera singer has been described as “an artist to treasure” by the New York Times.

2013: Susan Bullock OBE

In 2013, the masterclass was led by the celebrated English soprano Susan Bullock OBE, and conducted in conjunction with the Melba Opera Trust, accompanied by Artistic Advisor Sharolyn Kimmorley AM. Susan Bollock's international recognition for her performance in the operas of Strauss and Wagner has led her to collaborate with some of the world’s leading conductors including Edo de Waart, Fabio Luisi and Semyon Bychkov.

2014: Lisa Gasteen AO

The 2014 Masterclass was led by esteemed Australian soprano Lisa Gasteen AO for four students and recent graduates of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. An internationally acclaimed Australian operatic soprano, Lisa Gasteen now mentors young opera singers through the Lisa Gasteen National Opera School in Queensland. 

2015: Renée Fleming

On 29 August 2015, ahead of her first performance in the Concert Hall in a decade, acclaimed opera soprano Renée Fleming gave a masterclass to three rising opera students from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in the Utzon Room. 

2018: Emma Kirkby

World-renowned soprano Dame Emma Kirkby DBE, one of the foremost interpreters of early music, led three exceptional students of opera in the 2018 masterclass. Since the early 1970s, Emma has prioneered period practice for Renaissance and Baroque vocal soloists and in many cases was the first to champion overlooked masterpieces including those of Vivaldi, Bach and Mozart.

2019: Wallis Giunta

Irish-Canadian mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta will mentor an opera student from the Conservatorium of Music in the Utzon Room on Sunday 08 December. Wallis' versatility extends from operatic Mozart to Kurt Weill cabaret, music theatre to the Metropolitan Opera.


Make a Gift in Your Will

Learn how you can make the Sydney Opera House part of your life story, or honour a family member or loved one, by making a gift to the Opera House in your will. For more information please click here.

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