Australian Singing Competition - 2015 Semi-Finals Concert

2015 Semi-Finals Concert Programme


MOST Chairman - Roland Gridiger

Roland Gridiger, CEO MOST®

“Welcome to the Semi-Finals Concert of the 2015 IFAC Australian Singing Competition. This afternoon you have a real treat in store – ten talented singers from around Australia and New Zealand are preparing to move and astound you with their performances. It is a wonderfully diverse group of sopranos, a mezzo, a tenor, a baritone, a bass baritone and a countertenor: indeed a fine demonstration of the breadth of young classical talent that awaits our audience.

This is our 34th Semi-Finals and we are delighted to be back in the beautiful Independent Theatre where so many of our alumni have begun their journey to the world stage. I invite you to witness some of those journeys by visiting our YouTube Channel that to date has had close to 600,000 views.

We thank our friends, sponsors and supporters for enabling us to present the very best. We wish each of the Semi-Finalists a successful performance and look forward to welcoming you to the Finals on 3 October 2015.”

About the Semi-Finals

More than a Concert

As Semi-Finalists, the singers are required to prepare no less than four items of music that must include a work by a Classical or Baroque composer (such as Monteverdi, Handel, Bach or Mozart) and a song for voice and piano (such as a lieder, art song, or chanson). The Adjudicators hear any or all of these pieces in the Private Adjudication session held the day before the Concert.

After the Private Adjudication, the ten singers compete one last time onstage at the Semi-Finals Concert. Each singer performs two pieces, one of which must be an art song. This requirement was intended to encourage young classical singers who wanted careers outside of opera and remains a distinctive element of the Competition.

From the ten Semi-Finalists, only five will be selected as Finalists. These five will appear at the Finals Concert on 3 October at 7 pm in the Concert Hall of the Concourse Theatre, Chatswood. Now in its 34th year, the ASC has showcased nearly 3,000 singers who have competed for more than $2.8 million in prizes. Former winners of the ‘Marianne Mathy Scholarship’ (the major prize in the Australian Singing Competition) such as Rachelle Durkin, Amelia Farrugia, Stuart Skelton and Paul Whelan, have all gone on to achieve national and international acclaim.

2015 National Adjudicator

2015 IFAC ASC National Adjudicator - Linnhe Robertson

Linnhe Robertson

Linnhe Robertson has worked extensively in the major music centres throughout the world as a vocal coach, repetiteur, accompanist and harpsichordist. Her career began on the music staff of the Australian Opera. After a period of study in Germany in Lied Accompaniment, Linnhe remained there working as a vocal accompanist and as assistant to vocal Professor Kaiser-Breme at the Bayreuth International Wagner Festival. With her move to Great Britain, Linnhe changed music direction and pursued a high profile career as a harpsichordist throughout the UK and Europe. She performed and recorded as the resident harpsichordist with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta and with other notable early music ensembles, such as the English Baroque Soloists under John Eliot Gardiner. During this period, she also worked as repetiteur with the English National Opera under the Music Directorship of Mark Elder.

In 1989 Linnhe was invited to take up the position as Head of Music and Director of the Young Artists' Programme at the Victoria State Opera based in Melbourne Australia, a position which continued with the merger of that company and the Sydney-based national company (renamed Opera Australia). Through the success of her work with the training and development of young opera singers, Linnhe was awarded a Churchill Fellowship in 1993, which she used for further research into varying world-wide training systems for young singers.

On returning to the UK in 1999, Linnhe completed a Masters degree in Arts Management at City University, London. After a period of working in London as an artists' manager with a London based artists' agency, and as General Manager of a contemporary classical music ensemble, she was offered the position in 2002 as Deputy Head of Vocal Studies and subsequently Head of Vocal Studies at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama until 2013. She now has the role of ‘Artistic and Research Consultant for Opera & Voice’ at the Guildhall School. Linnhe also coaches the Jette Parker Young Artists at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London.
Linnhe continues to give masterclasses and performs regularly as recital accompanist with singers throughout Great Britain and Europe.




Linnhe Robertson
National Adjudicator

Johannes Fritzsch 
Internationally renowned chief conductor.

Lisa Gasteen AO
Renowned mezzo-soprano and Chair of Practice Professor of Opera at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Griffith University.

Michael Halliwell
Associate Professor of Vocal Studies and Opera and the Associate Dean (Research) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.


Find Out More


2013 IFAC ASC Semi-Finals Compere - Greg Lenthen

Greg Lenthen

Journalist and opera buff Greg Lenthen has supported the IFAC Australian Singing Competition since it began in 1982, helping behind the scenes and in front of them, too.

When the fledgling competition needed an honorary publicist, there was Greg. And when it needed a compere for the very first semi-finals concert, again Greg volunteered. Greg has often reprised the role over the ensuing decades, and we are very pleased to have him compering the semi-finals again this year.

While Greg’s more than four decades in journalism have been mainly in newspapers, he also spent a decade in radio. These days Greg is rarely behind the microphone – except in a good cause, such as helping foster the opera stars of tomorrow through the IFAC Australian Singing Competition.


2012 IFAC ASC Semi-Finals Accompanist - David Harper

David Harper

Born and raised in New Zealand but based in the UK for the last forty years, David has earned a glowing reputation worldwide for his accompanying and vocal coaching skills. His clientele includes various distinguished international singers – many of whom also frequently invite him to collaborate in recital at prestigious international venues, as well as students and young aspiring professionals from all points of the globe.

Over the last decade David has often returned to Australasia, establishing a prominent professional profile here to complement his northern hemisphere activities. Biennial visits enable him to fulfil a variety of commitments including intermittent guest coaching periods with Opera Australia, tutorships at Summer Singing Schools, song recital engagements, and regular private vocal coaching stints in numerous locations.

David is proud to maintain his longstanding association with the IFAC Australian Singing Competition as accompanist and prize donor.

2015 Guest Artist

2015 Guest Artists - Catalyst Saxophone Quartet

Catalyst Saxophone Quartet 

Catalyst formed in 2010 when four friends from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music combined to study chamber music.

They have enjoyed performances throughout New South Wales and have toured regionally with David Miller performing and running workshops for local community centres and schools.

Having now completed saxophone studies at the Conservatorium, the members of Catalyst are now pursuing individual performance and education opportunities whilst maintaining the quartet.

Catalyst consists of Dylan Brown on Soprano, Simon Watts on Alto, Bernard Lagana on Tenor and Alexander Lee on Baritone. 



Semi-Finals Concert
Sunday 30 August 4:30pm
Independent Theatre
269 Miller Street
North Sydney

Monday 31 August 1:00pm
Joan Sutherland Studio
The Opera Centre
480 Elizabeth Street
Surry Hills

Finals Concert
Saturday 3 October 7:00pm
Concert Hall
The Concourse Theatre
409 Victoria Avenue

2015 Semi-FInals Concert Programme

Download PDF 2015 Print Programme

2015 Semi-Finalists

(by last name in alphabetical order)

Damian has a Bachelor of Music Performance (Voice) from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. This year Damian makes his Opera Australia debut as ‘Rolan’ in their schools-touring production of Rossini’s La Cenerentola. Other recent roles include Don Basilio in The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart in Mozart and Salieri by Rimsky-Korsakov, Hugo in Offenbach's Love By Lanternlight, The Tenor Lover in Puccini's Il Tabarro and Edward in Trial by Jury.Read more

Non t’amo piu / Tosti

Comfort ye…Every Valley
Messiah / Handel

ANASTASIA BICKEL 24* mezzo soprano QLD
Anastasia is in her final year of a Bachelor of Music (Classical Voice) at the Queensland Conservatorium. She has performed as a soloist for the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic and has performed several lead roles, most recently in Queensland Conservatorium’s production of Hansel and Gretel. Earlier this year Anastasia sang the alto solo in Handel’s “Ode to St Cecilia” and “Ständchen (Zögernd leise) with Chordiality and will soon perform in the Messiah with the Bach Society of Queensland.Read more

Iris, hence away
Semele / Handel

Von ewiger Liebe
Opus 43 /  Brahms

Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Music (Honours) in Voice from the Victorian College of Arts, Melbourne Conservatorium. In 2015, Rebecca will covering the role of ‘foreign princess’ from Dvorak’s Czech opera Rusalka with Melbourne opera company XLArts and performing Santuzza in a Cavalleria Rusticana/Contrabandista double bill with the Gilbert and Sullivan Society. And later in the year she will appear in the chorus of Opera Australia for the Sydney and Melbourne seasons of L’elisir D’amore.Read more

Mi tradi quell’alma ingrata
Don Giovanni  / Mozart

L’heure exquise

Annika is currently in her fourth year of a Bachelor of Music (Advanced Performance) at Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium. This year she made her professional debut this year singing in La Boite Theatre’s adaptation of Medea, and is employed as a soprano in the Cathedral Schola of St. Stephen’s. Most recently Annika performed the lead role ‘Virtu’ in Val Machin Opera Scenes’ production of L’incoronazione di Poppea.Read more


Come tacer… Vorrei Spiegarvi il giubilo
La cambiale di matrimonio / Rossini

Phoebe-Celeste has recently returned from the UK where she spent two and a half years completing her Masters of Music & Performance at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She previously obtained her Bachelor of Music from the University of NSW. In 2015 Phoebe-Celeste made her debut with Opera Australia as part of the chorus in four separate operas. She has performed as a soloist around the world, most recently for the Joan Sutherland Richard Bonygne Society in Sydney but previously for the WNO Opera Gala in South Wales and with the London Symphony Orchestra for their Song Day.Read more

Batti Batti o bel Masetto
Don Giovanni / Mozart

Du bist die Ruh

JEREMY KLEEMAN 24* bass baritone VIC
Jeremy has a Master of Music (Opera Performance) from the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. He has appeared as a principle with various opera companies, most recently for Victorian Opera in I puritani and Sweeney Todd, and in the Best Opera Helpmann Award winning Faramondo for the Brisbane Baroque Festival.Read more

Die beiden Grenadiere
Romanzen und Balladen /  Schumann

Tutto è disposto... Aprite un po' quegli occhi
Le nozze di Figaro /  Mozart

Tabatha has recently completed a year of postgraduate study at the Mozarteum in Salzburg as the recipient of the Mozart Opera Institute Award in the 2012 IFAC ASC. She is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium where she was awarded First Class Honours and the University Medal. In 2014, she won the Mietta Song Competition with Alex Raineri and the 49th International Dvorak Singing Competition in the Czech Republic. In 2015, Tabatha is appearing with Opera Australia in the Chorus for Turandot.Read more

Kennst du das Land?
Goethe-Lieder /  Wolf

Depuis le jour
Louise / Charpentier


Katherine is currently completing her Honours year for a Bachelor of Music (Classical Performance – Voice) at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. In 2014 she performed in the New Zealand premiere of a chamber work for soprano, piano, and saxophone: Ellwood Derr’s I Never Saw Another Butterfly. She has been a soprano soloist in the B Minor Mass (Bach) with the Kapiti Chorale, and the title role in L'enfant et les sortilèges (Ravel) at the New Zealand School of Music.Read more

Ich wandelte unter den Baumen
Liederkreis, Op. 24  /  Schumann

Embroidery Aria
Peter Grimes /  Britten

MAXIMILIAN RIEBL 23* counter tenor VIC
Maximilian engages in concert work and international competitions throughout Europe, Australia and the United Kingdom. He began his professional stage career as a boy soprano at the age of ten and has since performed in concerts, operas and oratorios in the Royal Albert Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus and Musikverein, the Sydney Opera House, Hamer Hall and the Kammeroper. His concert and operatic repertoire includes Bach's Johannes Passion, Magnificat and Mass in B minor, Handel's Messiah, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Vivaldi's Gloria, Nisi Dominus and Magnificat, Mozart's Requiem, Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, John Blow's Venus and Adonis and Purcell's Fairy Queen.Read more

Fammi combattere
Orlando / Handel

O Solitude 
Occasional Odes / Purcell

BENSON WILSON 24* baritone NZ
Benson holds a Bachelor of Music Honours (Vocal Performance) from the University of Auckland. He was a Finalist and won second place in the 2014 Lexus Song Quest. Benson has performed as a concert soloist and in the chorus of several companies, most recently in Auckland Opera Studio’s production of Lucia di Lammermoor.Read more

Mein Sehnen Mein Wähnen
Die Tote Stadt  /  Korngold

La Belle Jeunesse
Chanson Gaillardes / Poulenc

Catalyst Saxophone Quartet

Ku Ku  | Barry Cockcroft
Trap Rag | Jean Matitia


Winners of the following – 
Istituto Italiano Di Cultura Award 
Radzyminski Family Prize 
Ingrid Davidson Award 
Lisa Gasteen National Opera School Prize 
AOAC Judith Ward Lieder Scholarship
Tinkler Encouragement Award

Announcement of –

2015 Finalists

Approximately 3 hours, with a 20-minute interval.

*Age as at entry.

Wine gifts: Huntington Estate Wines
Chocolate gifts: from Silvia – Gluten Free Cuisine
Gift vouchers: Running Bare

The Semi-Finals Concert will be broadcast on Fine Music 102.5 on Wednesday 30th September at 1pm.
Audio Recording: Fine Music 102.5
Engineer: Greg Ghavalas

Music & Opera Singers Trust Ltd (MOST®) administrators of the IFAC Australian Singing Competition, would like to acknowledge the generous support and assistance of –

Australian Opera Awards Committee 
Steve Davidson
Fine Music 102.5 | Young Virtuosi
From Silvia Gluten Free Cuisine
Lisa Gasteen National Opera School
Gridiger Lawyers
David Harper
Huntington Estate Wines
Istituto Italiano di Cultura
Shelia McKechnie
Music & Opera Singers Trust Ltd (MOST®)
Lucienne Radzyminski
Running Bare
Tinkler Trust
Judith Ward
Judy Deacon


Calendar / Events

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Nicole Car shares her experience in the 2008 Australian Singing Competition.

Nicole Car, Soprano

One of Australia's leading young sopranos, Nicole shares her experience in the 2008 Australian Singing Competition.

In September 2012, Nicole was the winner of the 2012 Opera Awards and is a member of Opera Australia's Young Artists Program. 

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