Photo Above: 2014 adjudication panel comprising (L to R) Rachelle Durkin, Conal Coad, Dr Di Bresciani OAM and Greg Hocking (Chair.
Greg Hocking (Chair)
Greg graduated with a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne. He studied under Carlo Felice Cillario and Geoffrey Arnold. He worked at Queensland Opera and Australian Opera, and has run his own successful entrepreneurial business since 1979.
As a conductor Greg has an extensive operatic repertoire and he produced and conducted Melbourne Opera’s inaugural season of La Traviata, The Pearl Fishers, and The Magic Flute, and has produced and conducted most of Melbourne Opera’s productions since.
In 2004 he conducted La Traviata in Fiesole and returned to Rome for concerts later that year.
Greg is a founding director of Melbourne Opera. He also founded the Universal Theatre, the Comedy Club, and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
He is a theatrical producer in his spare time, with extensive credits ranging from Wogs out of Work to Beckett directs Beckett and is responsible for Australian concert tours of many famous artists including Yehudi Menuhin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Roger Woodward, Ivo Pogorelich, Sir George Martin and Elvis Costello.
Dr Di Bresciani OAM
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.
New Zealander Conal Coad trained in the NSW Conservatorium of music Opera School before joining Opera Australia. He made his European debut with the Opera de Wallonie and has sung with all the major companies of Belgium; in Brussels (La Monnaie), Liege, Antwerp, Charleroi, Ghent and Bruges, in the principal bass roles. In France he has sung in Paris, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Strasbourg, St Etienne, Le Mans. Elsewhere in Europe he has performed regularly in Naples, Venice, Bologna, Hamburg, Geneva, Lisbon, and Madrid.
He has performed in the UK at Covent Garden, Holland Park Festival Opera, Garsington Festival and Opera North and in Scotland.
In the USA he has performed in Washington and New York. Conal has also performed in Israel. Conal performs regularly in New Zealand with the national company in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch as well as National tours.
Conal returns each year for Opera Australia, and has performed many roles including in Fidelio, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (for which he won a Green Room Award), Lulu, Manon (also winning a Green Room Award), La Cenerentola, Billy Budd, The Rakes Progress, Albert Herring, Don Carlos, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, L’Elisir d’Amore, Arabella, Capriccio, Don Giovanni, (for which he was nominated for a Helpman Award), The Coronation of Poppea, Queen of Spades, The Rape of Lucretia, Aida, Voss, The Marriage of Figaro, The Emperor of Atlantis, Manon Lescaut, L'elisir d'amore, Fidelio, Roméo et Juliette, Arabella, The Pilgrim's Progress, Lucia di Lammermoor, etc. Conal also performed often for WA Opera, Opera Queensland, SA Opera and many roles for the University of NSW Opera.
Conal regularly adjudicates major singing competitions and teaches in many international opera schools as well as sponsoring and supporting aspiring singers. He has adjudicated many times for the Australian Singing Competition.
Concert engagements include work with all major Australian orchestras, Israel Philharmonic, Royal Opera House, a solo Concert at La Monnaie Brussels, SSO, NZSO, ACO, as well as festivals in France, Belgium, Germany, Holland, Israel, UK, Australia and NZ. Conal supports many charities and has been a guest artist in major events including Kensington Palace, in Australia, Tokyo, Belgium (Brussels and Malines) and in NZ.
In the current season Conal performed in The Turk In Italy for Opera Australia in Sydney and The Magic Flute, Opera on the Beach, Gold Coast and The Elixir of Love in Melbourne. He returns to Opera Australia for their 2015 Sydney and Melbourne Seasons. Future roles also include Billy Budd in The Netherlands and concerts in Japan.
Recordings/DVDs include: Mozart Bass Arias, NZ at Covent Garden, Mozart Opera Arias, My Beloved Father, Ruaumoko, Orakau (Morrison Trust), Don Giovanni (Leporello) Opera Australia, Don Pasquale, (Don Pasquale) Opera Australia, ABC Classic 100 Mozart and Sweet Serenade.
Australian soprano Rachelle Durkin is one of opera's most striking young artists performing at major houses worldwide to critical acclaim.
Rachelle began her career by winning the top three vocal competitions in Australia in 2000: The Herald Sun Aria Competition, The Marianne Mathy Scholarship in the Australian Singing Competition and The Metropolitan Opera Award. Another win followed at the 2001 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and she was invited to join the Metropolitan Opera's Lindemann Young Artist Development Program where she remained from 2001-2004.
She made her Metropolitan Opera debut as the First Handmaiden in Sly and has subsequently appeared as Clorinda in Cenerentola, Young Girl and Naked Virgin in Moses und Aaron, Barena in Jenufa, Teresa in Benvenuto Cellini, Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Masha in Pique Dame, Elvira in L'Italiana in Algeri and First Flower Maiden in Parsifal - which she performed at the Salzburg Festival as part of the Met tour with Maestro Levine. In recent seasons, she performed a variety of repertoire including Armida in Rinaldo and Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Opera Australia, Cunegonde in Candide with the Bellingham Festival of Music and her Carnegie Hall debut as the soprano soloist in Handel's Messiah.
Other acclaimed portrayals include Corinna in Chicago Opera Theater's production of Il Viaggio a Reims, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni in Brisbane, Perth and San Antonio and a Gala Concert with Jose Carreras in Perth entitled Opera Under the Stars. Rachelle is also a distinguished oratorio artist with repertoire ranging from the early works of Handel, Bach, Mozart and Beethoven to the more recent works of Bernstein, Gershwin and Sondheim. She has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, the New Choral Society of Central Westchester, Auckland Philharmonia, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and the Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Queensland, Tasmanian and West Australian Symphony Orchestras.
Recent performances have included Gilda (Rigoletto) in Spain and Adelaide, the title role in Alcina in Sydney and Melbourne, Angelica (Orlando), Donna Anna and Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte) in Sydney, Kumudha (A Flowering Tree) in Perth and returns to the Metropolitan as Miss Schlesen in Satyagraha and Frasquita in Carmen.
In 2010/2011, Rachelle featured as Norina (Don Pasquale) and Miss Schlesen at the Metropolitan Opera, as Tytania (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Donna Anna and Countess Almaviva for Opera Australia and the title role in La Sonnambula and the Four Heroines (The Tales of Hoffmann) for West Australian Opera.
In 2012 and 2013, Rachelle Durkin sings the title role in La traviata in Sydney and Hong Kong, the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor in New York, Musetta (La bohème) in Perth and Norina and Eurydice (Orpheus in the Underworld) in Sydney for Opera Australia.
In 2014, Rachelle Durkin will sing Adina (L’elisir d’amore) and Norina (Don Pasquale) for Opera Australia and appear as Lisa (La sonnambula) and Clorinda (Cenerentola) at the Metropolitan Opera, New York.
Past Adjudication Panels
Brian Castles-Onion (Chair), Dr Di Bresciani OAM, Amelia Farrugia, Michael Lewis
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
One of Australia's most outstanding young sopranos, Nicole was selected by an eminent judging panel comprising Brian Castles-Onion, Amelia Farrugia, Michael Lewis and Dr Di Bresciani. Find out more on our YouTube channel by clicking on the link below.