Young Artists

Pacific Opera aims to promotes the growth of Australia's budding opera talent by providing professional development activities and a series of concert and corporate events and, importantly, performance opportunities in our annual opera production.

From left to right: 2015 Young Artists Jessica Harper, Jared Lillehagen, Sarah Wang, Karina Jay, Georgina Hall

Livia Brash – Soprano

Livia holds a Masters of Music Studies (Opera) from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where she was the recipient of the Geoffrey Rothwell Scholarship and the Joan Bonamy Scholarship, studying under the tutelage of Maree Ryan AM. She graduated with a Bachelor of Music majoring in Classical Voice Performance from The Australian National University.

Livia has performed as a soloist for numerous diplomatic and vice-regal events, performing for General Sir Peter Cosgrove, Dame Quentin Bryce, Malcolm Turnbull, and ambassadors for the United States and Japan. She performed as a soloist alongside China’s Three Tenors at the Sydney Opera House under the baton of Brian Castles-Onion.

Her operatic credits have included Fiordiligi (Cosí fan tutte), Titania (The Fairy Queen), Eurydice (Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, opposite UK tenor, Nicholas Mulroy), Nancy Waters (Albert Herring), La Maestra delle Novizie (Suor Angelica), as well as numerous roles in contemporary and premiering Australian works. Livia is looking forward to being the female soloist in Theodorakis’ Canto General at City Recital Hall and performing the role of Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni for Opera Hunter this year. 

Claire Chehade-James - Soprano

Claire Chehade-James is an opera, recital and oratorio singer in Australia and Europe. Currently a sponsored Young Artist with Pacific Opera, Claire recently performed at the Sydney Opera House in the Utzon Room concert series singing the role of Gilda in a scene excerpt from Rigoletto, as well as various art songs. In 2012, she made her debut as Belinda in Dido and Aeneas in Wiesbaden, Germany and has since performed the roles of Diana in Orpheus in the Underworld and Adina in Elixir of Love. She has performed as the soprano soloist in cantata and oratorio concerts including Handel's Messiah, JS Bach's St John Passion, Vivaldi’s Gloria and numerous Bach cantatas accompanied by musicians from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra and the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. Claire is a pupil of acclaimed Opera Australia soprano, Emma Matthews, former Opera Australia soprano Christine Douglas and coaches with Simon Kenway, Richard Gill OAM and Brett Weymark.


Christopher Curcuruto - Bass-baritone

Christopher Curcuruto’s voice has been described as a “satisfyingly rich bass-baritone” with “a very distinctive bass timbre”. Christopher started his performance career as an actor, obtaining an Honours Degree in Theatre from the University of New England before undertaking post-graduate studies in Opera at the prestigious Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. In 2015 Christopher relocated to Sydney and has since performed with many of Sydney’s young artist companies.

Following a number of performances with Pacific Opera in 2015, including the role of Harasta in their production of Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Christopher was formally invited to participate in their Young Artist Program in 2016 and he is pleased to have been invited to continue in this role in 2017.

Christopher’s recent credits include: bass soloist for Willoughby Symphony Orchestra’s Beethoven Symphony 9; Kecal in Rockdale Opera Company’s The Bartered Bride; Alessio in Operantics’ La Sonnambula; and Marquis D’Obigny in Opera New England’s La Traviata

Barbara Jin - Mezzo-soprano

Barbara Jin completed a Masters of Opera Performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 2016 under the tuition of Maree Ryan AM.

Her operatic credits have included Mercedes (Carmen), La Badessa, La Suora Zelatrice and La Suora Infermiera (Suor Angelica), Miss Fitzhenry, Lady Jersey and Second Nun (Williamson’s English Eccentrics), and Dawn’s Attendant, Mopsa and Secrecy (The Fairy Queen). Barbara has also appeared in the ensemble for Adamo’s Little Women, Bernstein’s MASS as a Street Singer at the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall, and in the premiering opera, Ui no Fa’aoe. In October 2016, Barbara portrayed Dorabella in Cosí fan tutte at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. In January 2017, she was cast as Mrs McLean in Susannah (Floyd) with Opera New England. In February 2017, Barbara will be playing Angelina (Cenerentola)  in Rossini’s La Cenerentola with Lyric Opera Studio Weimar.

Barbara’s concert repertoire includes Mass in D minor ‘Nelson’ (Haydn), Messiah (Handel), Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven), Mass (Bernstein) and Stabat Mater (Rossini). Barbara has performed with Eastern Sydney Chamber Orchestra and Choir, Sydney Combined Church Choirs, Mosman Symphony Orchestra, Penrith Symphony Orchestra and Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Ecumenical Choir, Penrith Symphony Orchestra and Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic Orchestra.

Daniela Leska - Soprano

Daniela has performed across Australia, Germany, Switzerland and China. With a “vibrant personality,” Daniela has worked with the State Opera of South Australia, Australian International Opera Company, Lyric Opera of Melbourne, Co-Opera Inc., Opera Projects Sydney, Lieder Society of Victoria, and performed on radio and for Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Daniela is the recipient of two George Boland Scholarships, an ArtStart Grant and a JUMP mentorship with Sharolyn Kimmorley to prepare the role of Zerlina, Don Giovanni. Daniela holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Classical Performance at Western Australia’s Academy of Performing Arts.

Daniela’s staged roles include Despina -Così fan tutte; Sophie -Werther; Barbarina -Le nozze di Figaro; Papagena -The Magic Flute; Annina -La Traviata; Sorceress -Dido and Aeneas; Beth -The Tender Land; The Tailor and Bianca-understudy -Goetz’s The Taming of the Shrew; and Baker’s Wife -Into the Woods


Bree Meara-Hendy - Mezzo-soprano

Mezzo-soprano Bree Meara-Hendy is a graduate of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, where she studied opera performance.

Across 2016, Bree trained as a Young Artist with Pacific Opera Company, Sydney. Prior to this, Bree spent part of 2015 in the UK and Italy to undertake training in singing, movement, and Italian language. Bree has performed a number of operatic roles including La Ciesca (Gianni Schicchi), Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen), and Baba the Turk (The Rake’s Progress).

Bree recently performed for the first time with the Opera Australia Chorus in November 2016, in an acclaimed production of The Eighth Wonder (Alan John). Looking ahead, Bree is excited to be performing again with the company in Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour’s production of Carmen.

Ryan O'Donnell - Tenor

Australian tenor Ryan O’Donnell is currently completing a Bachelor of Music (Performance) at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music under the tuition of Maree Ryan AM. He has performed as a soloist in concerts, recitals, and operas and has been awarded multiple touring scholarships.

Recent operatic roles performed include Acis in Acis and Galatea for the Peninsula Summer Music Festival, Mr Grey in the Australian premiere of Joseph Horowitz’s chamber opera Gentleman’s Island for Operantics, and Dr Graham in The English Eccentrics for the Sydney Conservatorium Opera School conducted by Stephen Mould.

Ryan has also performed principal roles across many other genres, including Ralph Rackstraw (HMS Pinafore), John Howard (Keating! The Musical), The Beast (Beauty and the Beast) and Crisostomo Ibarra in workshops for a new musical adaptation of Noli me Tangere.

Laura Scandizzo - Soprano

Laura is a 2017 Pacific Opera Young Artist and she enjoyed the privilege of being a 2016 Pacific Opera Adjunct Artist.

Laura’s solo roles include Ariadne in Ariadne auf Naxos, the title role in Suor Angelica, Leonora in Fidelio, and Nella in Gianni Schicchi

Upcoming performances include an opportunity to perform the role of Donna Anna in Don Giovanni in Bulgaria at the Varna International Opera Academy in June 2017. 

She has also joined the Opera Australia Chorus in their production of King Roger and will also be participating in the chorus for Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour's Carmen in 2017.

Caleb Son - Tenor

Caleb first studying singing in high school with before studying at the Korea Conservatory. After graduation, Caleb performed in the musical Hwang Jin Yi and Time Goes By taking on supporting roles. He then went on to study at the Graduate School of Music, Gakcheon University, and played an important role in the Korean opera Chuanghyang jeon.

Caleb's debut on the professional stage was as a page of the opera Chip and His Dog in 2012. He then moved to Australia and worked as a member of chorus in La Boheme with Opera Australia. In addition, Caleb participated in the creative opera Water Babies by Australian composer Freddie Hill. 

Caleb has studied with Tenor Ahn Byung-hun, Tenor Kim Ji-hong, and Tenor Lee Hyun-soo, who studied in Italy. Through them, Caleb is learning to pursue the Italian 'bel canto' style, analysing the voices of many Italian singers. Since Caleb came to Australia, he has been trained by Mr. Camille Maria.

Emily Turner - Soprano

Emily completed a Graduate Diploma of Music Studies (Opera) from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in 2016 under the tutelage of Mr Joseph Ward OBE. Most recently, Emily has performed in the chorus of Opera Queensland’s production’s Madama Butterfly, La Traviata and The Perfect American, and as Harry in the Queensland Conservatorium’s production of Albert Herring.

Other operatic roles include Barbarina (Le Nozze di Figaro), Dew Fairy (Hänsel und Gretel), Frantik (The Cunning Little Vixen), and chorus roles in The Rake’s Progress & Suor Angelica.

In 2016, she achieved runner up in the Alton Budd Memorial Award for the 2nd time and was a finalist in the Sydney Eisteddfod’s Open Age Opera Awards. She won the Success on Stage Operatic Aria (Open age - Brisbane Eisteddfod) in 2014.

She recently attended the Opera Scholars Australia Summer School as a Summer Scholar, and with them performed in Opera in the Alps. 

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