Friday, January 22, 2016

Valentine's Day Opera Concert

Come and hear the gorgeous alumni of Pacific Opera singing beautiful songs, arias and ensembles from across the repertoire, accompanied by Simon Kenway on piano.

14 February, 2016 ~ 4.30pm
Independent Theatre, North Sydney

Thursday, December 24, 2015

MCC Christmas Eve Carol Service

Had the pleasure of singing "The Little Road to Bethlehem" for the Metropolitan Community Church's annual Christmas Eve Carol Service at the Sydney Town Hall tonight.

What a warm, generous and supportive crowd... and the most fabulous venue in the city! So beautiful.

Huge thanks to Jermaine Chau for being my groupie in the crowd and taking me to some fine dining after the show (okay... we went to Macca's) followed by a delicious cocktail at the Marble Bar (Hilton Hotel). Can't think of a nicer way to ring in Christmas or with a better person!

Have not worked out how to make the curls stay up for longer than 20 minutes. Methinks my hair is a bit too long at the moment...

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Orange Eisteddfod

Had a lovely time and did well at Orange Regional Eisteddfod this year.

Stayed in a gorgeous full-sized home from AirBnB with Joelene Griffith (coloratura soprano) and Bradley Gilchrist (our pianist).

Came second in the aria prize to that wily Joelene by half a point! She sang so, so beautifully, and did part of the mad scene from Lucia di Lammermoor... crazy! I beat her in plenty of the other sections though. ;-)

Here we are, looking pleased with ourselves.

Joelene Griffith, Pamela Andrews, Rhian Saunders

Rhian Saunders, Bradley Gilchrist, Corinne Parker,
Soonki Park, Joelene Griffith, our adjudicator
myself and another pianist from the eisteddfod
All photography: Joseph Restubog

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Classics in Callan Park ~ an unexpected sing

Got a phone call around 11.30am asking me how soon I could be dressed and organised to replace a fellow soprano in "Classics at Callan Park", a Leichhardt City Council initiative of an audience picnic whilst being serenaded by The Metropolitan Orchestra Ensemble plus singers from Pacific Opera.

Seeing as I was already going to be there assisting as a volunteer, it was easy enough to up-frock and up-do! We replaced the ailing soprano's aria with one that I knew better, "Depuis le jour" by Charpentier, and I also sightread a couple of other numbers with the group ("Flower Duet" from Lakme, and "Nella Fantasia").

Quelle belle vie!

Photography: John Kilkeary

Monday, October 6, 2014


The General Manager invited me to take part in a Pacific Opera masterclass given last weekend (4 October, 2014) at St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Balmain, with the one and only CHERYL BARKER.

I worked on Depuis le jour the day prior with Christine Douglas in preparation, and squeaked it out nervously in front of Cheryl. She was so lovely! She was very supportive and warm. I think I managed some very fine sounds in her presence, and she kindly called the sound "stunning".

Well, I can die happy now. :)

Pictured L-R:
Pamela Andrews, Marisa Panzarin, Cheryl Barker,
Elizabeth Beilharz, Crystal Wei
and pianist Bradley Gilchrist.
(Photography courtesy of Joseph Restubog.)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Pacific 10th Anniversary Concert at St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney

The Pacific Opera 2013 Young Artists were lucky enough to share the stage in the 10th Anniversary Concert of Pacific Opera with such amazing singers as Cheryl Barker, Peter Coleman-Wright, Eva Kong, David Hamilton, Glenn Winslade and Christine Douglas. Glenn Amer was at the piano and former Chief Justice of NSW George Palmer was the MC for the evening.

The church was a really beautiful space to sing in and I really enjoyed our appreciative audience. I sang "Jewel Song" from "Faust" and "Mister Snow" from "Carousel".

Thank you, Glenn Amer, for your wonderful accompaniment!

And many, MANY thanks to my wondrous Joseph Restubog for taking these gorgeous photos.

Clockwise from far left:
Maia Andrews, Hannah Greenshields, Rhian Saunders,
Pamela Andrews, Georgia Kokkoris and Sepehr Irandoost

Clockwise from far left:
Maia Andrews, Hannah Greenshields, Rhian Saunders,
Pamela Andrews and Georgia Kokkoris

 Clockwise from far left: 
Sepehr Irandoost, Hannah Greenshields, 
Rhian Saunders, Pamela Andrews, Georgia Kokkoris, 
Laura King and Maia Andrews

 L-R: Hannah Greenshields, Rhian Saunders, Pamela Andrews

 L-R: Maia Andrews, Hannah Greenshields,
Rhian Saunders, Pamela Andrews

 Clockwise from far left: 
Sepehr Irandoost, Hannah Greenshields, 
Rhian Saunders, Pamela Andrews, Georgia Kokkoris, 
Laura King and Maia Andrews

L-R: Pamela Andrews, Hannah Greenshields, Rhian Saunders

Clockwise from far left: 
Sepehr Irandoost, Hannah Greenshields, 
Rhian Saunders, Pamela Andrews, Georgia Kokkoris, 
Laura King and Maia Andrews

L-R: Sepehr Irandoost, Laura King, Hannah Greenshields,
Maia Andrews, Joelene Griffith, Georgia Kokkoris,
Pamela Andrews, Zoe Drummond, Karuna Kourkova
and Damian Arnold

My favourite shot of the night. Cheesy!
L-R: Hannah Greenshields, Rhian Saunders, Pamela Andrews

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Gala Dinner

Some of the Pacific Opera 2013 Young Artists were asked if we could do a lunchtime concert, a mystery gig, at the Shangri-La Hotel on the 26th of October. Less than two days before the appointed gig, we found out that it was actually an evening event - providing operatic entertainment in two brackets at a gala dinner for the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an exclusive Australian chapter of a worldwide organisation of, essentially, foodies. People who love their food and wine. Sounds like something I could really get behind, to be honest! It was founded in Paris in 1950, and is referred to as an international gastronomic organisation. Yessssss.

It was pretty obvious by some of the surprised faces in the room that our appearance during the dinner was an unexpected but very welcome event! They were such a lovely and appreciative audience, and I am truly grateful for some of the members who got up at the end of the show to congratulate me privately. It was a much needed confidence boost and I thank you! One woman said that I was really engaging and funny, which is pretty much the highest praise I could ever get, so thank you very much indeed.

I sang:

Porgi, amor, from La Nozze di Figaro by Mozart
Chi il bel sogno di Doretta from La Rondine by Puccini
Mister Snow from Carousel by Rodgers & Hammerstein

Our pianist was Yerim Lee, as Glenn Amer was unavailable. She was a very sweet girl.

Our General Manager, Claire Palmer, treated us to a bottle of sparkling wine in the Shangri-La Hotel Lobby Bar after the performance, and then we went up to Level 36 Bar to check out the absolutely stunning panoramic view of Sydney City at night. Holy crap, if you haven't done that, I really recommend it! I will be taking Joe to see it as soon as practical.

There was an official photographer there taking photos but i haven't gotten my hands on any of those... here are some photos from backstage.

Zoe and I accidentally wore the same colour - RED! - but that turned out to be a theme colour of the evening decorations anyway, so we pretended that we planned it that way. Obviously.

The singers were Pamela Andrews, Zoe Drummond, Sepehr Irandoost and Damian Arnold.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Banco Court Concert, Supreme Court Building

The Chair of the Pacific Opera Board, Hon George Palmer, is the former Chief Justice of New South Wales, and I can only presume that it's through him that we got this gig. Most of the young artists were able to make it for this concert on the 13th floor of the Supreme Court Building. It was an appreciative crowd, and a lovely grand piano. Very dead space to sing in, though, which surprised me, as most old courtrooms I've been in have been very boomy. I remember going to see Trial By Jury in the old Hobart courtroom and it was so boomy that I could not make out a single word of the show, especially the chorus! Thought they were all shouting it. Disliked the show for that reason for several years until I performed it myself and realised how funny it was. Words! They're important!

The girls took a couple of photos backstage but I don't think there were any taken during performance. Bummer.

You may be wondering why I have been wearing my red dress so much lately. The very simple reason for that is that it's the easiest to transport! I've had to come straight from work for a few of these gigs lately and it's the only dress I've got that I can keep rolled up in a carry-on suitcase under my desk at work all day. It was my bridesmaid dress for Justine and Aaron's wedding in Adelaide several years ago. Still a stunning choice, Juzzy. Best bride ever. You rock.

L-R: Laura King, Joelene Griffiths, Pamela Andrews,
Rhian Saunders and Zoe Drummond.
Photo taken by Maia Andrews.
Can you see Karuna Kourkova taking a nap behind us?

The Andrews Sisters! Maia is the prettiest Andrews in the world.
No relation, but thanks if you think so! ;-)
Taken by Maia Andrews. Selfies FTW.

L-R: Karuna Kourkova, Joelene Griffith, Pamela Andrews,
Maia Andrews, Rhian Saunders, Georgia Kokkoris,
Zoe Drummond, Damian Arnold and Laura King

Sunday, September 15, 2013

National Eisteddfod, Canberra

Joe, Mikey and I journeyed down to Canberra for the weekend for the National Eisteddfod. Traditionally, it's a fairly big aria contest and the prize used to be around $15,000. Well, the Eisteddfod has lost a large sponsor, I believe, and so there was a one-off "Centenary Aria" prize of $5,000 instead this year. I have to say that I found it incredibly strange that the Eisteddfod was running a raffle for which there were large cash prizes. I would not have thought that to be an economical use of funds. What's wrong with winning a meat-tray? I'd be stoked if I won some food or wine! Seemed like a big waste of money to me.

I continued my tradition of never winning a single thing ever at the Canberra Eisteddfod, not even a highly commended or 4th placing. Very therapeutic for one's ego, I must say. The adjudicator was Dr Jean Callaghan (not a singer, I'm led to believe, but more of a musicologist) who wrote lots of illuminating things about my technique.

The aria contest had many, many withdrawals, so many so that only five of us showed up for the actual competition! Ridiculous. The winner was Sonia Anfiloff, my co-Masters soprano at ANU who was home from Vienna for a few months. Utterly deserved - she's a total babe and sang like "Vissi d'arte" like a dream. Wonderful. I have aspirations of learning that aria now...

My wondrous Joseph Restubog took these 2 beautiful photos of the competitors:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Workshop with Chuck Hudson

Chuck Hudson is a renowned opera director from NYC, New York, and I was lucky enough to get both an hour privately with him working on "Porgi, amor" from Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart, but also a 2-hour acting workshop with him with the rest of the Young Artists.

The techniques he teaches were so great at instantly transforming a performance. He was brilliant. I'll be first in line when he returns to Australia next August!

Photography by John Kilkeary.

 Clockwise from left: Javier Vilarino, Chuck Hudson, Sepehr Irandoost,
Paul Chegwidden, Georgia Kokkoris, Pamela Andrews, Zoe Drummond,
Rhian Saunders, Joelene Griffith and Maia Andrews