August 2017: Young Artist of the Month


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 ButterflyLa 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. 

1. What have you been up to lately, performance-wise, and what's coming up?

I have been honoured to perform in the Utzon Room Concerts as a Pacific Opera Young Artist this year, including Winter Words and 24 American Songs and Arias. I have also attended many wonderful masterclasses, including those conducted by Jacqui Dark and Lauris Elms AM OBE. I will be performing with Pacific Opera in the Last Night of the Proms Concerts with Willoughby Symphony on the 19th and 20th of August.

I am currently preparing for an original production combining Mozart operatic arias with contemporary movement called Mozart Airborne, a collaboration between Opera Queensland and Expressions Dance Company. It is my first time as a soloist with Opera Queensland. The show is running from the 5th of August until the 12th of August at QPAC.

2. Who is your favourite singer, and why?

There are many singers that I admire for their artistry and beautiful technique, but one of my favourites would have to be Natalie Dessay. I admire her use of acting in opera, and aspire to that level of commitment and believability.

3. What show has impacted you the most as an audience member?

I suppose the most influential opera I ever witnessed live would have to be my first one, a travelling production of Carmen, which arrived in my far north QLD city of Cairns when I was only six years old. Having been raised on the “happily ever afters” of Disney, I remember being shocked by the ending, and having trouble processing it, asking my mum “Why did he do that, he loved her”. Little did I know I would aspire to be one of those players in the future!

While I love watching live performances, I find that I am more effected by performances that I’m a part of, which is why I don’t want to be just a observer, I want to live this as a career.

One of the biggest influences for me as a viewer was a DVD of Cats starring Elaine Paige I was given in my early teens. I watched it thousands of times, and adored the whole spectacle of it. It is partially the inspiration for my love of stage shows and performance.

4. What experiences do you think have shaped you the most as a performer?

Company started everything! It was there that I got a taste of what it was like being part of a “team” all working towards a collective goal, to create something beautiful together. I loved the atmosphere of the rehearsal process and the thrill of the live performance. I would perform my first lead role with Brisbane Junior Theatre Company with the titular role of Annie (very appropriate for my hair colour).

My primary school was very supportive of my singing, giving me my first opportunities on the stage, such as Toto in Wizard of Oz (the Dorothy had trouble singing, so I sang “Somewhere over the Rainbow” in a little brown dog costume). This made singing a very positive and welcoming experience, giving me the confidence to perform as a busker over many years at the beautiful markets in Port Douglas.

I performed in a lot of musicals and concerts throughout my time at Cairns State High, a specialist performing arts high school. These included Les Misérables (Young Cosette) and Miss Saigon. I was honoured to sing the vocalise “Eliza’s Aria” with our multi award winning school orchestra in the finale of Fanfare at QPAC.

When I was 14, my singing teacher, Lauren Hannay gave me my first operatic aria, Voi che sapete from Le nozze di Figaro, which inspired me to research the opera. I loved the plot, and it made me want to perform the role of Cherubino one day.

5. What is your favourite opera/aria/piece of music?

I have many favourite operas, including Le nozze di Figaro (Mozart), Don Giovanni (Mozart), Werther (Massenet), Die Zauberflöte (Mozart), La fille du régiment (Donizetti), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Britten), L’enfant et les sortilèges (Ravel) and am particularly fascinated by Pelléas et Mélisande (Debussy).  I am also a big fan of Gilbert and Sullivan shows, including H.M.S. Pinafore, The Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance.

This can change from month to month, however my current favourite aria is “Vision fugitive” from Hérodiade by Massenet. I never get tired of listening to that aria. My favourite aria to sing myself is “Chacun le sait” from La fille du régiment by Donizetti. I love singing it because it gives everyone such a positive feeling. It makes me happy to sing it, and the audience seems to enjoy it too!



August 2017 - Emily Turner

July 2017 - Barbara Jin

June 2017 - Caleb Son

May 2017 - Laura Scandizzo

April 2017 - Ryan O'Donnell

March 2017 - Claire Chehade-James

February 2017 - Christopher Curcuruto

August 2016 - Elizabeth Smalley

July 2016 - Charlotte Merz

June 2016 - Sarah Ampil

May 2016 - Nicholas Tolputt

April 2016 - Rebecca Moret

March 2016 - Bree Meara-Hendy

December 2015 - Sarah Wang

Find us on


Find us on