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Opera Lab

Want to sing Opera? Put your singing and acting skills under the microscope at Opera Lab

Opera Lab is a 6-day intensive program for aspiring operatic singers aged 15 – 25. Working with a team of professional conductors, directors and music coaches Opera Lab will cover a range of skills from operatic ensembles to interpretation of texts, singing in a foreign language to stage and acting fundamentals.

The program will be challenging, exciting and stimulating as you develop operatic skills with like-minded performers culminating in a short public performance involving all participants.
By the end of this course you will have;
• developed skills in collaborative performance
• fine-tuned language skills for singing; primarily in Italian and English
• developed a capacity to follow a conductor while singing and acting onstage
• learnt to realistically analyse strengths and weaknesses within your current performing abilities in opera, operatta and music theatre style
• build your audience communication skills to deliver a compelling narrative while singing

DATES NO NEW ENROLMENTS ARE BEING ACCEPTED AS OF 1 JANUARY 2018 Sunday January 21 to Saturday January 27* *please note there will be no activity on Australia Day (Friday Jan 26)


$700 incl. GST


There are a very limited number of bursaries available for Opera Lab. Bursaries applications can only be made once the offers have been sent out and will be subject to economic assessment criteria.

Principal Course Directors

Simon Kenway – Conductor

Simon Kenway is an established and highly respected orchestral and operatic conductor. He has held posts as Principal Chorus Master of Opera Australia, Musical Director for Opera in the Vineyards, Opera by George and Opera Under The Stars in Broome, and Conductor and Chief Vocal Coach for the Sydney Conservatorium Opera School. He now works as a freelance conductor, both internationally and in Australia and in 2015 was appointed Artistic Director of Pacific Opera.

Simon has conducted the Sydney, Tasmanian, West Australian, Canberra and Queensland Symphony Orchestras, Opera Australia, West Australian Opera, Opera Queensland, Australian Ballet, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Aldeburgh Productions in UK, the Australian Youth Orchestra and Beijing Symphony Orchestra. In 2017 for Opera Australia, Simon conducts The Marriage of Figaro on Regional Tour, and also concerts with Willoughby Symphony. Recent engagements include workshops and performances as Conductor and Music Director for Opera Australia’s Community Choirs project from 2012 – 2015.

Narelle Yeo - Direction and Music Coaching

Narelle Yeo achieved considerable performing success in the USA, performing numerous professional roles in opera and musical theatre, ranging from CioCioSan in “Madama Butterfly” to the soprano in Terence McNally’s “Masterclass” for Pacific Repertory Theatre. On the concert stage, she soloed for the San Francisco Symphony and the Berkeley Symphony before returning to Australia. 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. Narelle worked as a Director in the Opera Program at the San Francisco Conservatory.

Since her return to our shores, Narelle has directed opera and musical theatre for the Sydney Conservatorium and numerous other companies and schools in the USA and Australia. She has most recently premiered new works at the Moorambilla Festival and the Brisbane Festival.

Wendy Dixon – Producer and Music Coaching

Wendy Dixon has had a highly successful international career as a soprano soloist working in Europe, the Americas, Asia, New Zealand and Australia. As well as appearing in over 40 operatic roles, Wendy has performed in music theatre, oratorio, concert repertoire, cabaret and in recital. She has worked with internationally renowned directors Neil Armfield, Bruce Beresford, Baz Luhrmann, John Copley and Barrie Kosky and performed with many distinguished artists including Anthony Warlow, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Marilyn Richardson, Lisa Gasteen and David Hobson. With David Miller, Wendy is a founding member of Grevillea Ensemble and she is also Artistic Director for Sydney Art Song Society and for Divas on Demand.

Wendy is a firmly committed educationalist, gaining her Master of Music (Mus.Ed.) USyd 2007 with her thesis investigating vocal repertoire for HSC and mid-adolescent performers. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Sydney Conservatorium of Music and in addition has also co-written three books on 20th and 21st century Australian Art Song. Wendy is now a respected vocal adjudicator at Eisteddfods in NSW, Queensland and New Zealand. Her love of singing and acting was stimulated at an early age by programmes similar to Opera Lab which she has co-created with Simon Kenway and Narelle Yeo to foster the next generation of performers and audience.