I applaud all
that Music & Opera Singers Trust Limited (MOST) is achieving to encourage and expand opportunities for the growth of young Australian musicians who have the potential for stellar professional careers.
Dr Di Bresciani
An adjudication panel comprising Brian Castles-Onion, Michael Lewis OAM, Amelia Farrugia and Dr Di Bresciani will determine the winner at a private judging session.
Learn more about our adjudicators below:
Brian Castles-Onion is one of Australia’s most exciting and best-known conductors and pianists. He is described as ‘Exceptionally Brilliant’, ‘Dynamic’ and ‘Fabulous’.
After study abroad, he returned to Opera Australia in 1994 and was awarded the prestigious Churchill Fellowship to study conducting in Europe. He has worked at New York’s Metropolitan Opera and the Rossini Festival in Italy, has been Artistic Director of Canterbury Opera in New Zealand and continues a long association with Opera Australia.
His conducting experience throughout Australia, Asia and New Zealand includes: La bohème, Faust, La Traviata, Les pêcheurs de perles, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Don Giovanni, Lucia di Lammermoor, Così fan tutte, Lucio Silla, Rinaldo, Les contes d’Hoffmann, The Telephone, Turandot, Norma, The Merry Widow, Lakmé, A Little Night Music, La forza del destino, Manon, The Mikado, Tosca, Carmen, Samson et Dahlia, Rigoletto, Carmen, Die Fledermaus, Iolanthe, The Pirates of Penzance, The Gondoliers, H.M.S. Pinafore and My Fair Lady.
In concert, Brian Castles-Onion is a celebrated compère as well as conductor. He was on the podium for Opera Australia’s 40th Anniversary Gala and The Robert Allman Farewell Gala and recently conducted the Joan Sutherland State Memorial Service – which was broadcast internationally on television and radio.
His recital and concert appearances have seen him as conductor and pianist for Kiri Te Kanawa, Sumi Jo, Frederica von Stade, Placido Domingo, José Carreras and Geraldine Turner. His recordings include The Stephen Sondheim Songbook, When We Met, Amoureuse, The Power of Love, Puccini Passion, Geraldine Turner – The Stephen Sondheim Songbook Volume Two and the soundtrack to the American film Harlem Aria.
Brian’s reputation as an international recording artist, orchestral arranger and broadcaster is legendary and he has appeared in cabaret in New York, Berlin, London and throughout Australia - where he also regularly appears on national television. Brian is also a regular pianist/presenter on ABC television’s Play School – a position he adores! His first book Losing the Plot in Opera (published by Exisle Publishing) was released internationally in 2008. He made his New York Recital Debut in May 2009 and taught at Julliard School of Music in New York.
His 2011 conducting engagements included La bohème, The Mikado and La traviata for Opera Australia, performances with the Adelaide, Christchurch and West Australian Symphony Orchestras and concerts with Kiri Te Kanawa and Sumi Jo. In 2012, he will conduct all performances of La traviata – Opera Australia’s ‘Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour’.
Michael Lewis OAM
Michael Lewis, 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. His major debut at the Wexford Festival in 1976, was followed by performances at opera houses in Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Leipzig, Amsterdam, Venice, San Diego, Pittsburgh, English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, Opera North, Glyndebourne Festival and Touring Opera, and in Mexico. Since that time he has performed 35 major roles with Opera Australia, as well as regular appearances with the state companies in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane and New Zealand Opera.
Michael has performed a wide range of roles, from Mozart to Wagner to 21st century compositions, and he has a strong association with the works of Verdi, having performed in 12 of the Italian master’s operas. Rigoletto has been a signature role, Michael having performed it at, amongst others, La Fenice Venice; in the famous Jonathan Miller mafia-style production in London; in Elijah Moshinsky’s Opera Australia production; in the Parks Concert performance in Sydney, in which Dame Joan Sutherland made her farewell appearance in the role of Gilda; and in an earlier John Copley production, for which he won a Green Room Award.
Other career highlights include: soloist with Rudolf Nureyev at the London Coliseum in Bejart’s ballet to Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer; his first Beckmesser in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg for Opera Australia; and the world premiere creations of Jeronimus Cornelisz in Batavia by Richard Mills, and The Major in Madeline Lee by John Haddock.
On the concert platform, Michael has appeared with numerous orchestras around the world, and all of Australia’s symphony orchestras, with countless conductors of world renown. His repertoire encompasses all the major baritone works, in particular Carmina Burana, A War Requiem, Belshazzar’s Feast, Ein Deutsches Requiem, Elijah, Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder, Lieder eines fahrenden gesellen and 8th Symphony; The Dream of Gerontius, Messiah, Requiem (Fauré), The Wound Dresser (Adams), and Songs and Dances of Death (Mussorgsky).
In 2011, Michael Lewis performed the title role in a new production of Macbeth, Olivier in Capriccio, and Germont in La traviata for Opera Australia; Ein Deutsches Requiem for Sydney Philharmonia, and The Dream of Gerontius for The Royal Philharmonic Choir, Melbourne. In 2012, he sings The Count in The Marriage of Figaro, and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly for Opera Australia, and Macbeth for Opera Queensland.
Michael Lewis can be seen on DVD in Opera Australia recordings of Die Fledermaus with Dame Joan Sutherland, and the 50th Anniversary Gala. His CD, Schubert: Lieder Orchestrations, features arrangements by Brahms, Reger, Offenbach, Liszt and Mottl. He was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2008.
Amelia Farrugia is one Australia’s best-loved sopranos. Since her opera debut in 1994, she has sung many leading roles for Opera Australia, performed with all the ABC Orchestras and appeared internationally with distinguished conductors Richard Bonynge, Edo de Waart, Richard Hickox, Carlo Felice Cillario, Markus Stenz, Simone Young, Emmanuel Plasson, Paul Dyer, Andrea Licata, Alexander Briger, Brad Cohen, Robin Ticciati, Giovanni Reggioli and composers Gian Carlo Menotti, Richard Mills and George Palmer.
Amelia is renowned for her dazzling portrayal of Manon in Massenet’s Manon, her show-stopping Adele in Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus (performed for Glyndebourne Festival Opera UK and OA’s production recorded by ABC Classics), her Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohem, Maria Corona in Menotti’s Saint of Bleeker Street (Spoleto Festival Italy), Adina in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, Tytania in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff, Rosina in Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, Susanna in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro, Nedda in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci and Oscar in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera for which she received a Green Room Award (2008).
Amelia’s debut solo recording, Joie de vivre! (BBC Symphony Orchestra, Alexander Briger) was released by Universal Music/ Decca in Australia in 2005 and the UK in 2006 and nominated for a Classical Aria (2006). Amelia is the first Australian solo artist to record on the prestigious Decca label since Dame Joan Sutherland in 1959. Amelia is a television favourite, most recently appearing in Carols in the Domain and Opera Australia’s La Boheme (ABC). She was honoured with an invitation to perform for Pope Benedict XVI in the internationally televised Final Mass for World Youth Day and HRH Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark (2008). Amelia also performed with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra in a televised performance under the baton of Maestro Edo de Waart.
A graduate of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Amelia has won many major singing competitions including the Marianne Mathy Scholarship (1993), Sydney Eisteddfod’s McDonald’s Operatic Aria (1994), The Herald Sun Aria (1994), the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in Australia and New York (1994-1995) and the Opera Awards (1996). She was awarded NSW Young Achiever of the Year (1996). Amelia is a generous supporter of many charities and donates her time as Ambassador for the Sydney Eisteddfod, as a member of the Council of Patrons for Pacific Opera and Ambassador for St Lucy’s School, Wahroonga.
Amelia most recently made her debut as Violetta in La traviata for Opera Queensland and the Brisbane Festival. 2011 also saw a long run of performances as The Merry Widow for Opera Australia as well as concert appearances with the Sydney Symphony, Sydney Philharmonia and for Opera Australia in Beijing. In 2012, Amelia will join the roster of soloists at The Metropolitan Opera, New York. She will also sing the Widow again for Opera Australia (in Melbourne) as well as Eurydice in Orpheus in the Underworld for State Opera of South Australia.
Dr Di Bresciani OAM
Dr Di Bresciani, Founder of YMF Australia (sponsor of the YMF Australia Award) completed a Music Degree at the University of Melbourne and subsequently obtained a Doctor of philosophy in music and psychology undertaken with a Post Graduate Research Scholarship. In the 1980’s her research achieved international recognition, with an invitation to visit the USSR by Dimitri Kabalevsky, publications in research journals and participation in Research Commissions for the International Society for Music Education.
In 1988 Di founded the Youth Music Foundation of Australia Inc (YMF) which is affiliated with leading music /arts institutions in Australia, Italy, the US and the UK. In 2003 Di was selected Woman Achiever of the Year by the Australian Brain Foundation. Di is a life member of the Melba Trust Foundation, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Music Teachers, a senior adjudicator for the Australian Music Examinations Board, a Life Governor of University College, Melbourne, Founder and Managing Director YMF, a Board Member for the Australian Festival of Chamber Music and a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2013.
past Adjudication Panels
Maestro Andrea Molino (chair), Dr Di Bresciani, Peter Coleman-Wright, Elizabeth Whitehouse
Richard Bonynge AC AO CBE (Chair), Dr Di Bresciani, Anke Hoeppner, John Pringle AM
Jonathan Darlington (Chair), Conal Coad, Lisa Gasteen,
Richard Bonynge AC AO CBE (Chair), Cheryl Barker, Robert Gard OBE
Vladimir Kamirski (Chair), Donald Shanks AO OBE, Deborah Riedel
Prof. Imre Palló (Chair), Bernadette Cullen, John Pringle AM
Patrick Thomas (Chair), Elizabeth Connell, Donald Shanks AO OBE
Richard Bonynge AC AO CBE (Chair), Elizabeth Connell, Bruce Martin
Vladimir Kamirsky (Chair), Robert Allman AM OBE, Lisa Gasteen
Myer Fredman (Chair), Anson Austin, Rosemary Gunn
Andrew Greene (Chair), Christine Douglas, John Pringle AM
Roderick Brydon (Chair), Anson Austin, Richard Divall, Linnhe Robertson, John Shaw OBE, Ghillian Sullivan
Myer Fredman (Chair), Richard Divall OBE, Ronald Maconaghie AM, Linnhe Robertson, Ghillian Sullivan
Myer Fredman (Chair), Suzannah Conway, Marilyn Richardson
Myer Fredman (Chair), Ronald Maconaghie AM, Linnhe Robertson
Myer Fredman (Chair), Andrew Greene, Ghillian Sullivan
Stephen Barlow, Robert Gard OBE, Nance Grant MBE
Joseph Ward OBE (Chair), Grace Bumbry, Maestro Carlo Felice Cilario
Joseph Ward OBE (Chair), Roderick Brydon, Susan Dunn, Donald Shanks AO OBE
Joseph Ward (Chair), Eric Clapham, Myer Fredman, Sharolyn Kimmorley, Val Vallis
Margreta Elkins AM (Chair), Eric Clapham, Myer Fredman, Marvin Keenze, Sharolyn Kimmorley, Ronald Maconaghie AM
Ronald Maconaghie AM/Margreta Elkins AM (Co-Chairs), Sir Frank Callaway AO CMG OBE, Eric Clapham, Jennifer Eddy
Elizabeth Fretwell OBE (Chair), Margreta Elkins AM, Paul Griffiths, Cynthia Johnston AO, Anthony Legge
Jenifer Eddy (Chair), Eric Clapham, Myer Fredman, Cynthia Johnston AO, Ralph Lane, Ernest St John Metz
* Held as the 'Armstrong-Martin Scholarship' under the auspices of the Australian Singing Competition