Emma finds her voice

The former Kooweerup Secondary College student was known as ''the girl who sang opera'' at school. 190515_01

Kooweerup soprano Emma Wallace will perform at the twenty-first anniversary ‘Opera in the Market’ in Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market on March 4.

The young singer, whose first professional lesson took place in Drouin butter factory when she was 10, has just entered her fourth year with Opera Scholars Australia, one of the country’s leading voice development programs.

In year nine, when a Kooweerup Secondary College student, she was told by the late Richard Gill during a Victorian Youth Opera program that her voice was “a rare gift”.

“I will always remember that comment,” Ms Wallace said.

“I was lost for words and at the time and never believed that my voice could take me into opera until then.

“After a few more years of singing lessons I gained the confidence to share my singing with my secondary college and this was when I became close with the absolutely amazing musical director Claudia Barker.

“From then on I was known at my school as the girl who sang opera – and I have to admit I kind of liked that.”

Ms Wallace earlier this year performed a work from the early twentieth century Australia opera, Stella, during Opera Week – the lead-up to the twenty-third ‘Opera in the Alps’ in Beechworth.

As one of 22 scholars in the current OSA program, she will participate at ‘Opera in the Market’ in the performance of Aaron Copland’s superb hymn to farming from his 1954 opera The Tender Land, led by fellow scholar and tenor Thomas Harvey.

Other singers will include OSA Scholar of the Year 2019 and Melbourne Conservatorium graduate Chloe Harris, who will present a solo rendition of Gounod’s ‘Faites-lui mes aveux’ from the opera ‘Faust’.

The scholars will share the stage for one night only in the Market’s K Shed with Opera Australia leading soprano Taryn Fiebig, acclaimed mezzo soprano Milijana Nikolic, tenor Rosario La Spina and bass baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes.

The stars will perform works by Saint-Saëns, Puccini, Donizetti, Mozart, Rossini and Bizet, including famed duets ‘O soave funciulla’ from La bohème, ‘Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix’ from Samson et Dalila and ‘Là ci darem la mano’ from Don Giovanni – the title role which Rhodes has made his own.

‘Opera in the Market’ will be accompanied by Symphony Australis, a 45-piece orchestra directed and by conducted by ABC Classic FM compere Guy Noble and supported by a 70-voice chorus performing works from Carmen and La Traviata.

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