Vale Betty Amsden AO

Vale Betty Amsden AO

It was with great sadness that Opera Scholars Australia heard the sad news of the passing of Ms Betty Amsden AO. Betty - as she liked to be addressed, not wishing to put herself above others, was a keen observer and passionate supporter of the Arts and, in particular, young talent. She was a staunch supporter of the Opera Scholars Australia program since its inception in 1998 and was a Board member of the Trust since 2009. Betty recognised that the program provided important performance experience and training opportunities for talented young opera singers and was very generous in her support throughout her time on the Board. As well as offering wise counselling, she provided a very valuable award each year to the Opera Scholar of the Year and never missed an opportunity to attend OSA concerts and events. This would have been Betty’s 19th Opera in the Market at which she annually presented her prize to the Scholar of the Year.

Betty will be missed as a true patron of the Arts. She will also be missed for her larger than life personality and directness. Once convinced about a program, project or cause, nothing would stop her. We will always remember her with fondness and deep gratitude.

Vale Betty.

Opera Scholars Australia is looking for YOU!

Opera Scholars Australia has two places available for a TENOR and a BARITONE to join this dynamic operatic program.

Supporting developing young opera singers at the beginning of their careers, this program offers unique performance opportunities, acting workshops throughout the year, the chance to work with esteemed and international artists such as Yvonne Kenny, Tiffany Speight, Warwick Stengards and Teddy Tahu Rhodes.

Applications close Friday 17 February.


Opera Scholar of the Year 2017

We are thrilled to announce that our 2017 Scholar of the Year is soprano Madeleine Crombie!

Madeleine will perform her winning aria, Bellini's O quante volte from I Capuleti e i Montecchi at Opera In The Market on 27 February at the Queen Victoria Market!

Congratulations Madeleine and well done to our two runners up, you performed beautifully!

Tickets for Opera in the Market are available via their website and RACV:

Photography by Philip Betts

Opera in the Alps Children Chorus Workshop

We have 60 talented young singers in Beechworth today preparing for their performance at Opera in the Alps this Saturday! They will perform the piece Alice's Theme from the feature movie Through the Looking Glass.

Today they participate in a singing and dance workshop to best prepare them for the big stage!

Good luck kids!

Tickets are still available via

Hear the magical sounds of opera visit town

Thank you to our friends from the Euroa Gazette for this wonderful article on our upcoming concert 'An Afternoon of Song' on Sunday 23rd October, 2:00pm at Euroa Cinema.

To secure your tickets contact 0408 443 288 or purchase your tickets at the door.

Cleo Lee-McGowan in concert

Don't miss soprano Cleo Lee-McGowan perform with the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM) Vocal Ensemble in the Melbourne Festival's 'Musical Maverick' - in tribute to Percy Grainger. Cleo along with Daniel Felton, Rachel Amos, Olivia O'Brien and Giovanni Napoli will perform in various concerts on Saturday 15th, Saturday 22nd, Sunday 23rd October. See the link for further details.

Audition Notice: Four Summer School Scholarships available (January 2017)

St Matthew’s Music Association Albury, and the Commonwealth Bank Community Grants, have just announced the following singing scholarship opportunities.

Four Scholarships worth $1500 each will be offered to successful auditionees to take part in the 7 day residential Opera Scholars Australia Summer School in Beechworth January 15 – 21. Aspiring young classical singers currently pursuing singing studies will experience an intensive week in Beechworth comprising:

  • Singing coaching with international diva Yvonne Kenny AO and Opera Australia soprano Tiffany Speight
  • Repertoire learning with leading Australian accompanists
  • Acting and character development workshops
  • Dance instruction
  • Formal and informal performances including taking part in Opera in the Alps on Sat 21 January, 2017


Australian Music Events’ staff will be in Albury on Thursday November 10th from 3.00 pm at the Murray Conservatorium of Music in Albury to audition young singers who would like to be involved. They are encouraged to make an audition time by contacting Australian Music Events on 03 9819 7166 or email:-

Exciting Opportunity for young singers: Youth Summer Vocal Workshop

Directors of Opera Scholars Australia and Opera in the Alps, Graeme and Margot Wall, are excited to announce a workshop of 60 young singers in a Youth Summer Vocal Workshop, who will also perform at Opera in the Alps 2017.

The singers will primarily be drawn from existing secondary school choirs but also the local community. As a recipient of the Commonwealth Bank Community Grants program, OSA will be working to ‘improve the health and well-being of young Australians’ from the North East through singing, acting, performing and mentoring.

OSA will support and inspire young singers to consider a career in music, working alongside passionate young rising opera stars, a full symphony orchestra, 100 piece choir, professional conductor and being part of the biggest outdoor opera concert in Victoria!

Four Saints in Three Acts

Congratulations to our scholars who performed in the sold out season of Victorian Opera's 'Four Saints in Three Acts'. Pictured are Shakira Dugan (Opera Scholar of the Year finalist 2017), Darcy Carroll and Rachel Amos. Also performing was current scholar Mikahl Venneri and alumni Elizabeth Eliopoulos and Maurice Wan.

Photography by Victorian Opera/Charlie Kinross

Opera Scholar of the Year 2017 Finalists

After an exciting OSA Aria yesterday we are pleased to announce the 2017 Opera Scholar of the Year Finalists:
Madeleine Crombie
Shakira Dugan
Cleo Lee-McGowan

These three singers will go on to compete for the title of Opera Scholar of the Year at the annual Opera in the Alps in Beechworth January 2017. They will perform their chosen aria with the esteemed Alpha Sinfonia orchestra conducted by Guy Noble.

Congratulations to all of our semi-finalists for their strong competition and our special guests Yvonne Kenny AM and David Hobson for the enchanting performance and adjudication respectively.

Tickets to hear these beautiful voices again at Opera in the Alps can be purchased via the link:

DAVID HOBSON: "You must always strive to be the best YOU can be, meaning be YOU"

In preparation for the OSA Aria, we recently asked Australian tenor David Hobson what advice he might give to our scholars and other young singers at the beginning their careers.

"Possibly the most important piece of advice I could give is that you must always strive to be the best YOU can be, meaning be YOU.

Your voice and talent is unique so whilst it’s good to emulate great singers and their relative techniques and interpretations, what audiences are most receptive to is the ‘You-ness’ that honestly tells the story from your perspective. This of course takes a lot study, patience and sacrifice. One never stops learning so don’t be in a hurry and make sure you listen and study all of the great works thoroughly. Listen widely to singers from all periods and be mindful that you’ll generally respond to the performers who sing with freedom, beauty of tone and are unique.

Languages are vital as is the ability to act truthfully, after all opera is music/drama and the drama must never be forgotten. In fact often times the key to singing a phrase better or producing a freer tone can be through imbuing the text and therefore music with well thought out dramatic intent. Get to the point where you are singing ideas, feelings and actions to the other characters on stage as opposed to thinking about dots on a page or a diaphragm using or falling."

Don't miss David Hobson as he adjudicates our OSA Scholars at this years 2016 OSA Aria - Sunday 4th September!

OSA Aria 2016 guest artists announced

As a mentor to the Opera Scholars during their Beechworth Summer School and throughout the year, we are thrilled to announce that the incomparable Yvonne Kenny AM will make an exclusive guest appearance at the OSA Aria 2016.

We would also like to welcome back mentor David Hobson as he lends his ears to adjudicate our nine semi-finalists.

2016 FULL Scholarships awarded

Congratulations also to the following Full Scholarship holders for 2016. Thank you to our incredible individual sponsors for their generous support.

Elizabeth Barrow - recipient of the Hardy Family Scholarship
Emilia Bertolini – recipient of the John and Anne Duncan Scholarship
Madeleine Crombie – recipient of the Pinches Family Trust Scholarship
Shakira Dugan – recipient of the White Foundation Scholarship
Daniel Felton – recipient of the Peter Evans Scholarship
Cleo Lee-McGowan – recipient of the Peter and Melissa Hebbard Scholarship
Dorcas Lim – recipient of the Carolyn Masel Scholarship
Giovanni Napoli – recipient of the Garry Canning Scholarship
Stephen Marsh – recipient of the Betty Amsden AO Scholarship (2016 Scholar of the Year)

2016 Scholarships awarded

Congratulations to our 2016 Scholarships awardees who are set to present a season of Melbourne events and various workshops and concerts in Regional Victoria, including the annual Opera in the Alps and Opera in the Market.

Sarah Amos
Elizabeth Barrow
Emilia Bertolini
Darcy Carroll
Madeleine Crombie
Timothy Daly

Shakira Dugan
James Emerson
Daniel Felton
Finn Gilheany

Lyla Levy-Jordan
Dorcas Lim

Stephen Marsh
Giovanni Napoli
Olivia O’Brien
Cameron Sibly
Mikahl Venneri
Emma Wallace

Opera Scholar of the Year 2016 announcement

After immense deliberation, our esteemed Opera Scholars Australia panel are delighted to announce the winner of the 2016 Scholar of the Year is baritone Stephen Marsh!

Stephen performed Hai gia vinta la causa from Mozart's 'Le Nozze di Figaro' on Saturday night at this year's Opera in the Alps to earn him the Betty Amsden AO Scholarship of $5,000.

Congratulations to our runners up Shakira Tsindos and Elizabeth Barrow on their wonderful performances on Saturday night to a stellar 4,000 strong audience!