Australian Singing Competition - Adjudicators

2017 Adjudicators

2017 Adjudication Panels 

National Adjudicator
Catrin Johnsson


Auckland (NZ) Saturday 1 April
Stuart Maunder AM, Gina Sanders

London (UK) Monday 3 April
David Harper, Linnhe Robertson, Yvonne Kenny

Sydney (NSW) Monday 3 April & Tuesday 4 April
Barry Ryan, Taryn Fiebig

Melbourne (VIC) Wednesday 5 April
Suzanne Johnston, Andrea Katz 

Perth (WA) Friday 7 April
Thomas Johnson, Fiona McAndrew

Brisbane (QLD) Sunday 9 April
Jason Barry-Smith, Natalie Peluso


Adjudicators Semi-Finals

Tahu Matheson
Emma Matthews
Raff Wilson
Narelle Yeo

Adjudicators Finals

Tahu Matheson
Noëmi Nadelmann
Olafur Sigurdarson
Raff Wilson
Narelle Yeo


2017 IFAC ASC Adjudicator - Catrin Johnsson

Catrin Johnsson


Catrin Johnsson was born in Sweden and trained at the Sköndal Institute (Organist Course) and Royal University College of Music in Stockholm (Solo Vocal Course) where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music. She completed her formal training at the Royal Academy of Music in London (Performance and Opera Course) where she graduated with a Dip.RAM and LRAM. She has furthered her vocal studies with Jacqueline Bremar and David Harper. Awards include the prestigious Christina Nilsson Award from the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, Elena Gerhardt Lieder Prize, Flora Nielsen Prize, Michael Head Prize, Katie Thomas Prize, and the Minnie Hauk Prize.

Operatic roles include the title role in The Duchess of Malfi for English National Opera, Medoro in Handel’s Orlando for the Åmot Opera Festival in Norway, Cherubino Le nozze di Figaro, La Ciesca Gianni Schicchi and Dimitri Fedora for Opera Holland Park, Dorabella Così fan tutte, Dido Dido and Aeneas, Carmen, Meg Page Falstaff, Hansel Hansel and Gretel, Adelberto Ottone and Idelberto Lotario (London Handel Festival), Nicklausse Les Contes d'Hoffmann, Prince The Happy Prince, Zerlina Don Giovanni, Second Lady and Third Lady The Magic Flute. Covered roles include Fyodor Boris Godunov and Dorabella Così fan tutte for English National Opera, Hermia A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Stéphano Roméo et Juliette for Opera North.

Oratorios include: Verdi Requiem, Bach Magnificat, St Matthew Passion, Christmas Oratorio, Handel Messiah, L'Allegro, il Penserioso ed il Moderato, Mozart Requiem and Mass in C minor.

Catrin is active on the concert platform in Europe, Scandinavia, UK and New Zealand where performances include Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Queen Elizabeth Hall), Kindertotenlieder (Purcell Room), Grieg Haugtussa (St John's, Smith Square, with Malcolm Martineau). Together with pianist Rachel Fuller she recorded the CD In Recital and has also taken part in a televised master class for the BBC with David Pountney, as well as radio and television broadcasts in Sweden, Norway and New Zealand. 2016 engagements included: the role of Second Lady in The Magic Flute for New Zealand Opera 2016, recitals for Chamber Music New Zealand together with soprano Morag Atchison and pianist Rachel Fuller, and performances of Verdi’s Requiem with Bach Musica, as well as Mendelssohn’s Symphony no. 2, Lobgesang.

Catrin also works as a vocal and language consultant for high level choirs, including Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir. Recent engagements include Brahms Ein Deutsches Requiem (Royal Festival Hall, Wimbledon Choral Society, conductor Neil Ferris), Bach Johannespassion (Auckland Town Hall, Auckland Chamber Choir, conductor Stephen Layton). CD recordings include Voice of the Soul with Voices New Zealand Chamber Choir and Magnificat with the Auckland Chamber Choir, conductor Karen Grylls.

Catrin is an international guest tutor of the New Zealand Singing School and is an Artist Teacher at the University of Auckland. In London, she worked as a voice teacher at St Paul’s Boys’ School and at Latymer Upper School.

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2017 IFAC ASC Adjudicator - Tahu Matheson



Tahu Matheson studied piano with Kalle Randalu in Germany, and with Oleg Stepanov and Natasha Vlassenko at the Queensland Conservatorium, where he completed his Master of Music.

In 2000 Tahu performed the Rachmaninov Preludes Op 23 and gave the world premiere of Ten Concert Studies for Piano, written for him by Edwin Carr, in the New Zealand International Festival of the Arts. The Festival programme was recorded on CD for international release by Kiwi Pacific Records.

He has performed as soloist in the major concert venues throughout Australia and New Zealand, toured for Musica Viva and Chamber Music New Zealand, and been broadcast on New Zealand and Australian radio and television.

At the end of 2005 he was invited to London to conduct a new opera Nelson for the Trafalgar Bicentenary. He has conducted many concerts, and in 2008 conducted a performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony for the 4MBS Festival in Brisbane.

Since 2007 he has been a member of the music staff at Opera Australia and is a frequent accompanist for international artists including Teddy Tahu Rhodes, Yvonne Kenny and Emma Matthews.

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2017 IFAC ASC Adjudicator - Emma Matthews



Emma Matthews 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 at the Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Huntington Festivals, with conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Marko Letonja, Sir Charles Mackerras and Simone Young.

Emma has sung the title roles in Partenope, Lucia di Lammermoor, Lakmé, The Cunning Little Vixen and Lulu. Other roles have included Leila (The Pearlfishers), Amina (La Sonnambula), Philomele (The Love of the Nightingale) by Richard Mills, Ilia (Idomeneo), Juliette (Roméo et Juliette), Marie (La Fille du Regiment), Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare), Konstanze (Die Entführung aus dem Serail), Zdenka (Arabella), the four heroines (The Tales of Hoffmann), Pamina (The Magic Flute), Almirena (Rinaldo), Sophie (Der Rosenkavalier), Giulietta (I Capuleti e i Montecchi) and Cunegonde (Candide).

She is equally in demand on the concert platform, embracing a wide repertoire including the Requiems of Mozart, Brahms and Fauré, Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, masses by Poulenc, Villa Lobos, Haydn and Mozart, and Handel’s Messiah. Emma has also appeared as a special guest with José Carreras at the Sydney Opera House, and the New Year’s Eve Gala concerts for Opera Australia.

Further career highlights include her Royal Opera House Covent Garden debut in the title role of The Cunning Little Vixen under the baton of Sir Charles Mackerras, Mahler’s Symphony no. 4 with Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo conducted by Yakov Kreizberg and with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Vladimir Ashkenazy, and Ismene (Mitridate) for Sydney Festival.

More recent roles include Violetta (La Traviata), Fiorilla (Il turco in Italia), Gilda (Rigoletto) the Queen of the Night (The Magic Flute) and Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) for Opera Australia and Rosina in The Barber of Seville for West Australian Opera. Her recent concert appearances include Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl Concert and Eight Poems of Emily Dickinson (Copland) (released on disc for MSO Live in March 2014), and the ‘Jewel Song’ from Faust (Gounod) and the ‘Mad Scene’ from Hamlet (Thomas), also with the Melbourne Symphony, Mozart Requiem and arias with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, and recitals at Government House Sydney, with Ensemble Liaison and Sydney Omega Ensemble, featuring at Musica Viva’s Huntington Festival, Sydney Philharmonia Choirs’ Christmas concerts and Voices in the Forrest, Canberra as well as Duparc Songs with Simone Young and the ANAM Orchestra.

2016 will see Emma performing with Victorian Opera/Musica Viva nationwide in the baroque opera pasticcio “Voyage to the Moon”, with both Opera Australia and West Australian Opera as Leila (The Pearlfishers), with Darwin Symphony Orchestra, and in recital at Kangaroo Valley Arts Festival as well returning to Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for Messiah.

Emma’s album of bel canto arias, Emma Matthews in Monte Carlo, was released by Deutsche Grammophon / ABC Classics to critical acclaim. Her album of Mozart arias with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Marko Letonja conducting was released by ABC Classics in February 2014.

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2017 IFAC ASC Adjudicator - Nöemi Nadelmann



Noëmi Nadelmann is a Swiss soprano and the leading opera and concert singer of her generation. She made her debut in 1987 at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice as Musetta in La Bohème

Her many roles include Traviata, Lucia, Armida (Rinaldo), Alcina, Merry Widow, Rosalinde, Susanna, Countess Almaviva, Donna Anna, Marguerite (Faust), Manon, Marie (Wozzeck), Jenny (Mahagonny), Aida, Carmen, Contesse de la Roche (Soldaten); just to mention a few.

Noëmi Nadelmann has sung major roles at opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Opéra National Paris, Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Komische Oper Berlin, State Opera Berlin, State Opera House Hamburg, Dutch National Opera Amsterdam, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Operhaus Zürich, New National Theatre Tokio, Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Dresden Semper Opera and many more.

Conductors Noëmi Nadelmann had the honour to work with include Nicolaus Harnoncourt, Christian Thielemann, Simone Young, Franz Welser-Möst, Teodor Currentzis, Vladimir Jurowski, Christoph Eschenbach, Kurt Masur, Asher Fish.

There are several CDs and DVDs available on the market. In the french Chopin Film la note bleue she embodied the role of the opera singer Pauline Viardot-Garcia with french actress Sophie Marceau.

Noëmi Nadelmann was awarded the esteemed Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Prize by the Goethe-Stiftung for her outstanding artistic achievements.

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2017 IFAC ASC Adjudicator - Olafur Sigurdarson



Icelandic baritone Olafur Sigurdarson studied in Reykjavik, the Royal Academy of Music, and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

Since 2008/09 as a principal in the ensemble of the Saarländisches Staatstheatre (SST), this diverse singer is well known to Saarbrücken public. He has appeared in such roles as Rigoletto; Falstaff; Macbeth; Iago (Otello); Renato (Un Ballo in Maschera); Scarpia (Tosca); Telramund (Lohengrin); Klingsor (Parsifal); Jochanan (Salome); Tonio (Pagliacci); Balstrode (Peter Grimes); and Bluebeard.

Highlights of his career in recent years have included his role in the production of Don Quixotte at the Danish National Opera, Wagner's Flying Dutchman at the Finnish National Opera and Telramund at the Theater Basel. For his Flying Dutchman in Saarbrücken, he was awarded the Honorary Membership of the Richard Wagner Association of Saarland. His debut as Wanderer (Siegfried) as part of a concert performance with the Dortmund Philharmonic was a great success.

His concert engagements include Beethoven's 9th Symphony in Lugano with the Orchestra Della Svizzera Italiana under the direction of Vladimir Ashkenazy on the occasion of the inauguration of the new LAC cultural center; a tour with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Japan under Toshiyoki Kamioka; and in the Stuttgart Liederhalle The Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra under Nicholas Milton.

Future projects include: His debut as Verdi's Simon Boccanegra at the SST, the premiere of the Opera Brothers by Daníel Bjarnason directed by Kasper Holten in Denmark; and Falstaff at the Opera Colorado in Denver.

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2017 IFAC ASC Adjudicator - Narelle Yeo



Dr. Narelle Yeo returned to Australia after achieving considerable performing success while based on the west coast of the USA for many years. She has soloed for the San Francisco and Berkeley Symphonies, performed numerous professional roles in opera and musical theatre, ranging from CioCioSan in Madama Butterfly for Monterey Opera, to Leonore in Fidelio, to the soprano in Terence McNally’s Masterclass for Pacific Repertory Theatre. 

Other highlights include playing Miss Jane in the West Coast debut of Adam Guettel’s Floyd Collins for Theatreworks and Mrs Manningham in Gaslight for California Conservatory Theatre. A singing actor and champion of new music, Narelle has premiered a number of new works in both the USA and Australia, including her recent portrayal of Catherine in the new Australian opera The Long Ride Home by Thomas Rimes. Australian highlights include premiering new works at the Moorambilla Festival and the Brisbane Festival.

Narelle is also a sought after stage director, with numerous credits in opera and musical theatre to her name. In her previous role as a Director in the Opera Program at the San Francisco Conservatory enabled she developed a course in stage basics for opera singers. She is currently a Director in Residence at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where she also teaches stagecraft and voice to graduate and undergraduate students. Recent directing engagements include in Bernstein’s Mass at the Sydney Opera House and I Pagliacci for the Speigeltent (Strut and Fret).

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2017 IFAC ASC Adjudicator - Raff Wilson



Raff Wilson is the Director of Artistic Planning for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

He began his professional life working for music publishers such as Boosey & Hawkes and Alfred Publishing Australia, and subsequently with Symphony Australia and ABC Classic FM.

For the Sydney Symphony Orchestra he produced numerous recordings, and innovative concert performances of Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Vaughan Williams’ Sinfonia Antartica, and Australia’s first opera, Don John of Austria, by Isaac Nathan.

Working for the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra from 2010 to 2017, he contributed to major developments in that orchestra’s artistic evolution, including the city’s acclaimed first performance of Ring cycle, conducted by Music Director Jaap van Zweden.

Raff trained as a singer, studying with Robert Gard (Australia) and Clifford Lister (England). He holds a degree in languages from the University of Sydney.

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Past Adjudication Panels

The Mathy Statuette

The Mathy

'The Mathy' has become synonymous with The Marianne Mathy Scholarship, the featured award within the IFAC Handa Australian Singing Competition.

Hand cast in solid bronze, 'The Mathy' stands 195mm tall (230mm including its base) and weighs in at just under 1kg.

'The Mathy' limited edition Drago Marin Cherina bronze statuette was first awarded to Western Australian soprano Rachelle Durkin in 2000.

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2016: Nicholas Tolputt

2016: Nicholas Tolputt 

Nicholas Tolputt is our 2016 Marianne Mathy Scholarship Winner. In this video, Counter tenor Nicholas Tolputt performs “Stille amare” from Handel’s "Tolomeo" at the Finals Concert of the 2016 IFAC Australian Singing Competition, held in the Concert Hall of The Concourse, Chatswood, on Thursday 18th August 2016.

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