Local opera singer (2nd from left) is pictured with the other finalists in the Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship
Local opera singer (2nd from left) is pictured with the other finalists in the Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship Winkipop Media

Hectic schedule hits the heights for Michelle's singing

IT WAS a whirlwind weekend, but for local opera singer Michelle Ryan, she ended up as one of the winners.

Ms Ryan competed in the semi-finals of the Sydney Eisteddfod Opera Scholarship, competing against 16 other singers in singing two works.

"I had to do the heats a couple of weeks back and there were 60 others, from interstate and even New Zealand,” she said. "It was really good to see them all, we all get to know each other being in concerts or programmes together.”

Ms Ryan sang two arias and was chosen as one of eight finalists who will compete for the scholarship, worth more than $40,000.

"We also had to do an interview with the two adjudicators from Opera Australia, and they've had full careers singing, and they wanted to know how we'd used the scholarship,” Ms Ryan said.

"I pretty much said the same as a lot of the other singers, to help pursue an overseas career in opera.”

It wasn't all smooth sailing, with Ms Ryan having to reschedule her own concert with local friends to the Saturday, as the original performance date clashed.

"We did two shows on the Saturday, and we had more than 100 at Yamba which was good for the short notice, and we had a full house at Maclean Civic Hall.

"It was a hectic weekend, and definitely a team performance,” she laughed.

"I then drove to the Gold Coast and flew to Sydney that night so I was able to have a good sleep-in, take my time getting ready, warming up and perform at 2pm on the Sunday.”

Ms Ryan, who is currently a part of the Pacific Opera Young Artist program, has previously worked in programs in England, Germany and other European places, but had returned to Australia for the past few years.

"I'll be with Pacific Opera until September, and then I'll be doing gigs here and there, including Brisbane in November to perform an opera,” she said.

"I think it's really important to pursue opportunities in Australia, it's my home and I think it's the best country to live.”

The local concerts raised $400 which will be donated to Iluka Public School to help their Don't Stop the Music program.