History

The Opera & Arts Support Group is a non-profit charitable organisation and since incorporation our total commitment
has been to assist young singers develop their expertise and achieve their artistic potential. The Group is administered
by a small committee of voluntary members dedicated to raising funds to assist and support talented young singers
and musicians to enable them to further their studies and professional development within Australia and overseas. The
Group has raised and distributed over $800,000 in grants to deserving singers and musicians.

Initially our focus was on young artists and chorus members with Opera Australia. Most of our younger singers who
now sing principal roles with Opera Australia and major overseas opera houses have benefited from our support,
including Emma Matthews, Catherine Carby, Dominica Matthews, Warwick Fyfe, Angus Wood, Natalie Jones, Jose
Carbo and Teddy Tahu Rhodes to name just a few.

We believe supporting the professional development of young singers ensures the future of opera, not only in
Australia, but worldwide. The funds raised are distributed on the advice of leading coaches for specific purposes to
assist with vocal lessons, coaching fees, language courses, acting, stagecraft and movement tuition, masterclasses,
workshops, vocal scholarships, airfares, auditions and help with overseas study expenses. Each year we distribute funds
to assist emerging and talented young artists with their studies to prepare them to accept scholarships to prestigious
overseas academies.

We fund coaching with Australia’s leading vocal coaches and singing teachers. The distinguished vocal coaches who have visited Australia under the Group’s auspices have also provided a wealth of experience to our young singers working with Opera Australia.

Many of our young prodigies have happily gained entry to renowned overseas conservatoires including the Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Royal College of Music in London, and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Travel and living expenses are not always fully covered in scholarships so our Group helps fund these shortfalls. We have also provided financial assistance for young singers to prepare for, and undertake, auditions in Europe. The continued support of young artists is very expensive, but an essential investment in the future of our singers.

Language courses are a vital requisite for an opera career and require study in Australia and frequently a period at an overseas university or college, where we provide funds for living expenses and tuition fees. Expanding our commitment to the performing arts, we provided sponsorship for WAAPA graduates and singers working in the musical theatre repertoire to participate in masterclasses. The participants enthusiastically reported that these unique and motivating projects provided an invaluable opportunity to further their musical education.

We assisted musical theatre artist, Tyran Parke, with funding to travel to New York to undertake the world renowned cabaret course at Yale University, Melle Stewart with a study trip to London for vocal coaching in preparation for her leading role in the new Australian musical The Hatpin and Nick Christo to accept an invitation to research and perform his show, The Fabulous Frances Faye, in New York.

We do all this through organising a fundraising program of concerts, recitals and events including weekend tours to various destinations in NSW and also to Melbourne that have enabled the Group to provide support to many singers to make the transition from raw talent to becoming an accomplished and established artist.

It is also recognised that in addition to our direct financial assistance, the Group through our regular series of well patronised fundraising concerts, offer many young singers opportunities to gain invaluable performance experience. Considered essential for the development of performing artists is the opportunity to gain experience on the concert platform to develop their ability to interact with an audience, deal with nerves and the effect this has on vocal technique and breath support, and enhance their ensemble skills working with an accompanist and other singers.

The Opera & Arts Support Group’s Vocal Scholarship is a main event in the Sydney Eisteddfod. Total prize money of $16,000 attracts aspiring young singers from all over Australia. Many past finalists have progressed to win other major singing competitions and are also successfully working and studying in Australia and overseas.

Donations to the Opera & Arts Support Group Inc are fully tax deductible (click here for details) – Charity CFN 10745. ABN 24 304 772 801.